Julia (1977)

PG | 118 mins | Drama | October 1977

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HISTORY

       20th Century-Fox production notes state that Julia was "Richard Roth's first producing effort, after having worked in the industry for several years in various capacities." Roth acquired screen rights to Lillian Hellman's book Pentimento soon after publication, and Jane Fonda offered to star in the film without seeing a script.
       An 8 Aug 1976 article in Entertainment Today noted that Vanessa Redgrave had been signed for the role of Julia. On 1 Sep 1976 DV noted that Rosemary Murphy, Susan Jones, Meryl Street [sic], Mark Metcalf and John Clover had been signed for roles in the film.
       Principal photography commenced on Wednesday 8 Sep 1976 and continued for seventeen weeks.
       The first scenes were shot on the beach at Winterton-on-Sea, near Great Yarmouth, UK, which stood in for Nantucket, MA, in the film. The Cape Cod style beach house was built for the film. Other locations seen in the film include Derentwater in Britain's Lake District; St. John's College, New College and University Library at Oxford; the Hotel Meurice, Jardin des Tuileries and Gare du Nord train station, and Hopital Villemin (which stood in for a hospital in Vienna) in Paris; and Strasbourg, in the Alsace region of France, which also substituted for Vienna and Berlin. Interiors for the film were shot at EMI Elstree Studios north of London, where the interior of Sardi's Restaurant was built, and Studios de Boulogne in France, where the European cafe interiors were built. The passenger dock and ship sets were constructed at Shepperton Studio, west of London.
       According to a 1 Nov 1977 HR article, and ... More Less

       20th Century-Fox production notes state that Julia was "Richard Roth's first producing effort, after having worked in the industry for several years in various capacities." Roth acquired screen rights to Lillian Hellman's book Pentimento soon after publication, and Jane Fonda offered to star in the film without seeing a script.
       An 8 Aug 1976 article in Entertainment Today noted that Vanessa Redgrave had been signed for the role of Julia. On 1 Sep 1976 DV noted that Rosemary Murphy, Susan Jones, Meryl Street [sic], Mark Metcalf and John Clover had been signed for roles in the film.
       Principal photography commenced on Wednesday 8 Sep 1976 and continued for seventeen weeks.
       The first scenes were shot on the beach at Winterton-on-Sea, near Great Yarmouth, UK, which stood in for Nantucket, MA, in the film. The Cape Cod style beach house was built for the film. Other locations seen in the film include Derentwater in Britain's Lake District; St. John's College, New College and University Library at Oxford; the Hotel Meurice, Jardin des Tuileries and Gare du Nord train station, and Hopital Villemin (which stood in for a hospital in Vienna) in Paris; and Strasbourg, in the Alsace region of France, which also substituted for Vienna and Berlin. Interiors for the film were shot at EMI Elstree Studios north of London, where the interior of Sardi's Restaurant was built, and Studios de Boulogne in France, where the European cafe interiors were built. The passenger dock and ship sets were constructed at Shepperton Studio, west of London.
       According to a 1 Nov 1977 HR article, and in light of an Oct 1977 court decision by Federal District Judge Andrew J. Caffrey which ruled that "federal statutes banning false representation and description of goods and services crossing state lines also applies to film titles marketed in interstate commerce," producer James H. Johnson and Cine-Media International demanded that 20th Century-Fox abandon the title Julia , because it conflicted with the title of a 1974 West German film starring Sylvia Kristel which they controlled in the U.S. Subsequently, Johnson filed a $4.3 million suit in Los Angeles federal court against 20th Century-Fox, claiming unfair competition based on the title dispute. The outcome of this suit has not been determined.
       On 18 Jan 1978 the LAT reported that some Jewish groups threatened to protest and disrupt the annual Academy Awards ceremony if Vanessa Redgrave received an Oscar nomination. The protest was in response to the Redgrave's financing and narration of a documentary titled The Palestinian . According to 27 Jan 1978 stories in HR and DV , the Jewish Defense League demanded that 20th Century-Fox issue a two-part statement announcing that the company would not hire Redgrave in the future and that the studio specifically repudiate "her alleged anti-Israel, pro PLO [Palestinian Liberation Organization] political activities." Fox responded with a statement that read in part: "While Fox as a company, and individuals that work here, do not agree with Miss Redgrave's political philosophy, we totally reject, and will not be blackmailed into supporting, any policy of refusing to employ any person because of their political beliefs."
       As reported in the NYT on 29 Apr 1983, another element of controversy arose with the publication of Code Name Mary by Muriel Gardner that year. Some believed that the character of Julia in Lillian Hellman's memoir and depicted in the film might have been based in part on Gardner, who was a wealthy American who graduated from Wellesley, studied at Oxford, went to medical school in Vienna, and who became involved in anti-fascist activities in the 1930s. Gardner attempted to contact Hellman in 1976 asking if she was the inspiration for the character, but never received a reply. Both Gardner and Hellman agreed that they had never met, but Gardner claimed she had heard of Hellman at the time of the events described in Hellman's book through her attorney, Wolf Schwabacher. When the question of whether Gardner was in fact the inspiration for the character Julia became public, Hellman flatly rejected the notion.
       Julia was nominated for Academy Awards in the following categories: Best Picture, Best Music-Original score, Best Film Editing, Best Director, Best Costume Design, Best Cinematography, Best Actress in a Leading Role and Best Actor in a Supporting Role. The film won Oscars in the following categories: Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Jason Robards), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Vanessa Redgrave) and Best Writing-Screenplay Based on Material From Another Medium (Alvin Sargent). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
1 Sep 1976
---
Daily Variety
27 Jan 1978
---
Entertainment Today
8 Aug 1976
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Sep 1977
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Nov 1977
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jan 1978
---
Los Angeles Times
16 Oct 1977
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
18 Jan 1978
---
New York Times
3 Oct 1977
p. 1.
New York Times
29 Apr 1983
---
Variety
21 Sep 1977
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Richard Roth Presentation
A Fred Zinnemann Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
3rd asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam asst
2d unit photog
2d unit photog
Chief elec
Chief elec
Chief grip
Chief grip
Elec
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Prod des
Prod des
Art dept asst
Chief draughtsman
Draughtsman
Sign writer
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Set dresser
Prop master
Prop master
Props
Props
Dressing props
Dressing props
Dressing props
Prod buyer
Construc mgr
COSTUMES
Principals' cost des by
Ward des
Cost supv
Cost supv
Ward asst
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd re-rec
Boom op
Sd asst
Dubbing ed
Asst dubbing ed
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
Miss Fonda's makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Casting
Continuity
Prod asst
Prod accountant
Secy to Mr. Zinnemann
Secy to Mr. Roth
Secy to M. DeRode
Accounts secy
Pub secy
Unit car driver
STAND INS
Stunt double for Lisa Pelican
Stunt double for Susan Jones
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the story "Julia" in Pentimento by Lillian Hellman (Boston, 1973).
DETAILS
Release Date:
October 1977
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 2 October 1977
Los Angeles opening: 6 October 1977
Production Date:
Began 8 September 1976, made at EMI Elstree Studios and Studios de Boulogne
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
21 October 1977
Copyright Number:
LP49903
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Prints by De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Lenses/Prints
Lenses and Panaflex Camera by Panavision
Lenses/Prints
Prints processed by LTC Paris; Technicolor London, Rank Film Laboritories
Duration(in mins):
118
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
24858
SYNOPSIS

       In her old age, Lillian Hellman wants to remember her life in the past . . . At a seaside beach house in 1934 she smokes cigarettes and drinks undiluted whiskey as she sits at her typewriter. Dissatisfied with her work, she rips the page out of the machine, and tosses it out. As she goes to the window she sees her companion, Dashiell Hammett, coming up the beach after digging clams. When she tells him, “It’s not working,” he tells her to drink some more whiskey and get ready for dinner. After dinner, as they sit around the cook fire on the beach, he tells her that if she really can’t write, maybe she ought to get a job—be a waitress or a fireman. Lillian explodes at Dash’s seeming indifference, and brings up the fact that he has stopped writing altogether. He offers to send Lillian to Paris where she can finish the lay she is trying to complete and visit her friend, Julia. She says she doesn’t want to go to Paris, so he suggests Spain. As Lillian storms back into the beach house, she remembers Julia, whom she has known since childhood. Julia comes from wealth and is raised by her wealthy grandparents while her mother lives in equal luxury in a castle in Scotland, but Julia is bored by the rich and famous and delights in the company of Lillian who comes from humbler origins. Back in the beach house, Lillian tells Dash that she might do better work someplace else. As a teenager Julia brings Lillian along to her grandparents’ estate, ... +


       In her old age, Lillian Hellman wants to remember her life in the past . . . At a seaside beach house in 1934 she smokes cigarettes and drinks undiluted whiskey as she sits at her typewriter. Dissatisfied with her work, she rips the page out of the machine, and tosses it out. As she goes to the window she sees her companion, Dashiell Hammett, coming up the beach after digging clams. When she tells him, “It’s not working,” he tells her to drink some more whiskey and get ready for dinner. After dinner, as they sit around the cook fire on the beach, he tells her that if she really can’t write, maybe she ought to get a job—be a waitress or a fireman. Lillian explodes at Dash’s seeming indifference, and brings up the fact that he has stopped writing altogether. He offers to send Lillian to Paris where she can finish the lay she is trying to complete and visit her friend, Julia. She says she doesn’t want to go to Paris, so he suggests Spain. As Lillian storms back into the beach house, she remembers Julia, whom she has known since childhood. Julia comes from wealth and is raised by her wealthy grandparents while her mother lives in equal luxury in a castle in Scotland, but Julia is bored by the rich and famous and delights in the company of Lillian who comes from humbler origins. Back in the beach house, Lillian tells Dash that she might do better work someplace else. As a teenager Julia brings Lillian along to her grandparents’ estate, but reveals that she hates it there and disapproves of the attitudes of the rich toward the poor. Julia is accepted to medical school at Oxford in England, and the friends part as Julia sails on an ocean liner to her new life. She advises Lillian to take chances and to be very bold. Sometime later, Lillian visits Julia at Oxford. Julia tells Lillian that she intends to finish her medical studies in Vienna. Julia does go on to study in Vienna, and keeps in touch with Lillian through letters in which she decries the rise of Nazism. Lillian takes up Dash’s offer, and goes to Paris. She manages to talk on the phone with Julia, but Julia seems not to have received the letter Lillian has sent announcing her return to Europe, and when Lillian announces she is coming to Vienna, she is told by Julia that things are difficult. Looking out her hotel window, Lillian sees a peaceful demonstration broken up by French riot police, and she writes Dash, telling him that she is frightened and she feels a sense of evil abroad in the world. Vienna is caught up in street battles as fascist youth attack the university, and workers fight with soldiers in the streets. Finally, Lillian receives a call from Vienna, and learns that something has happened to Julia. Arriving in Vienna, Lillian finds Julia heavily bandaged and incoherent in the hospital. Julia is unable to communicate, but is agitated at seeing Lillian, who is asked by a nurse to leave. As she goes, a young boy tells her there is a reservation in her name at the Hotel Imperial. When she attempts to visit Julia the next day, Lillian is denied entry and told that Julia is resting after an operation. Later, after dreaming of an earlier sailboat outing with Julia, Lillian awakes to discover that Julia’s bed is empty. She is told that Julia has been removed for treatment. As she returns to her hotel, she is handed a note from Julia by the young boy urging her to return to Paris. She asks Lillian to leave her forwarding address at the hotel, but though Lillian stays in Europe for months she receives no word from Julia. When she attempts to contact the hospital in Vienna, she is told that Julia was never there. Lillian returns home to the States. Sometime later she receives a letter from Julia postmarked Vienna, but telling Lillian she can write to her care of a post office box in London. Lillian finally finishes her play to her satisfaction, but Dash tells her to tear it up, stating that is not bad–but not good enough for the serious writer she wants to be. Lillian tries again, and over long weeks she finally turns out an effort that Dashiell Hammett calls, “The best play anyone has written in a long time." On opening night, at Sardi’s restaurant in New York, Lillian receives an ovation from the diners when she comes in after the show. Lillian writes to Julia to tout her success and to wish that Julia had been there to see the Broadway opening. Invited to a Russian theater festival, Lillian tries to persuade Dash to come along, but he has no interest in doing so. At a Manhattan bar, Lillian chats with Anne Marie, who mentions that she saw Julia in Vienna and that she is acting strange—pretending she’s not rich, and doing anti-fascist work. On board ship with Alan Campbell and his wife, Julia watches as Dash stares at her from the dock and finally tips his hat to her as the ship is about to sail. In Paris, Lillian attempts to place a call to Julia in Austria, and tells the person on the other end of the line that she will be stopping in Vienna for two weeks and wants to see Julia. After returning to her hotel from an evening on the town in Paris, Lillian is approached by Johann, who brings her tickets, travel plans and a note from Julia. In a park, away from prying eyes and ears, Johann tells Lillian that they would like her to travel to Moscow via Berlin instead of Vienna. She is told that she will deliver fifty thousand dollars of Julia’s money, to be used to “bribe out” some who have been imprisoned by Hitler’s regime in Germany. Johann tells her he will be at the train station. If she agrees to go on this mission, Lillian is to say “hello” to him. If not, she is to ignore him. As Johann leaves, he is observed by Alan Campbell from his hotel room across the street. While she thinks over whether or not she will accept the mission, Lillian remembers an incident from her youth while hiking with Julia, who rescued her when she nearly fell into a turbulent river. At the German embassy, Lillian is told that since she is traveling to Moscow, she will only be allowed a transit visa and will be able to stay in Berlin for only a few hours. When Lillian attempts to avoid her friends the Campbells as she leaves her Paris hotel, they spot her and insist on accompanying her to the train station despite her objections. At the station, Alan Campbell recognizes Johann as the man who was with Lillian in the park. As Johann walks by, Lillian calls out to him and tells him that she just wanted to say “hello. “ She introduces Johann to the Campbells, and tells him that her friends will be curious about how they know each other so well that Johann would come to the station to wish her good-bye. But he tells her he came to see his nephew, Walter France, who seems to be late, but who will be travelling on the same train--coach four, second class. He asks Lillian to look up Walter and tell him that he came to see him off. On the train, Lillian is approached by Walter, who hands her a “birthday present from Miss Julia,” a candy box and a hat box. A note is attached telling Lillian to wear the hat in the hatbox and to leave the candy box on the train seat when the train reaches the border. The two women passengers in Lillian’s train compartment admire her fur coat, and urge her to try on the hat. When the older woman goes to the dining car, she asks Lillian to join her. The younger woman says she will stay behind and watch Lillian’s things. Reluctantly, Lillian leaves the candy box behind as she goes to eat. After ordering her dinner, however, Lillian is taken ill, excuses herself and goes to the restroom. There she checks her hat, feels that the money is in the lining, and returns to her compartment. At the German border, the passengers get off the train. Lillian is advised by her compartment mates to take her hat and coat, and to leave the candy box behind. Outside on the platform, the younger woman advises Lillian that if she has a temporary visa it may take more time to get through the border check. Getting back on the train, the younger woman in Lillian’s compartment grabs the candy box, opens it and takes out a piece of chocolate just as German police enter to inspect baggage. They open Lillian’s hatbox, and go through her suitcases. After the police leave the compartment, the young woman closes the candy box, re-ties the ribbon and hands it back to Lillian. At the train station in Berlin, Lillian is greeted by two “friends,” and Lillian’s young traveling companion tells her to give the box of chocolates to these people. As they walk off the platform, the woman, who now carries the candy box, peels off from her companion and Lillian. The man tells Lillian when gets out of the station to look to her left where she will see the Café Albert, and to go into that restaurant. Entering the café, she sees Julia sitting alone at a table across the dining room. Lillian notices Julia has crutches and asks why. Julia tells Lillian that she has a false leg as a result of her injuries and subsequent operation in Vienna. Julia tells Lillian to take off her hat, place it on the seat between them and then comb her hair. Julia folds the hat into her coat and carries it to the ladies room. When she comes back to the table, she tells Lillian that she has done something important—that they will be able to save 500, maybe 1,000 people with the money she has brought. Julia also tells Lillian that she will be coming to New York in a few months to have a new, properly fitting, artificial leg made—and that she will be bringing her daughter, named after Lillian, who is currently living with a baker’s family in Alsace, France. Julia asks Lillian to take care of her daughter so she won’t have to remain in Europe. Lillian agrees to accept responsibility for Julia’s baby when she arrives in the States, then Julia tells her to get up, take her hat, say good-bye and leave, and that someone will see that she gets on the train and makes it to Warsaw safely. Outside the restaurant she is intercepted by a man who takes her suitcase and escorts her to the train. On her way to Warsaw, the train porter arranges to move Lillian’s luggage out into the corridor so she can sleep through the nighttime border inspection leaving Germany. The next morning a young man comes to her compartment door, informs her that she is safely in Poland, and that the Germans have confiscated her trunk. He tells her she is safe, but to not return through Germany. At the theater festival in Moscow, Lillian dozes through a Russian-language production of Hamlet . At the same moment in Frankfurt, Germany, Nazi thugs break into Julia’s room as she is sleeping and kill her. Returning to her Moscow hotel room, Lillian finds her trunk has been delivered, but it has been carelessly searched and the contents jumbled. A note is slipped under her hotel room door. The letter, from a John Watson, informs her that Julia has been killed and asks what arrangements she wishes to make for Julia’s remains at a London funeral home. In London Lillian receives another note addressed to her from John Watson, telling her what actually happened to Julia. She asks the funeral director how she can get in touch with Watson, but all he can tell her is he received the note when he picked up Julia’s body at the home of a Dr. Chester Lowe. When she arrives at Lowe’s address, she is told there is no one by that name there. Lillian goes to Alsace in search of Julia’s daughter. However, she does not find the child and returns home to America. She attempts to get in touch with Julia’s grandparents to find out what they want to do with Julia’s ashes, but is turned away by the family butler who says he does not remember her. Dash tells Julia that she has done all she could to find Julia’s child, and in the end Lillian comes to terms with things as they are . . . “sometimes fine. Not always,” but stubbornly refusing to forget. +

GENRE
Genre:


Subject

Subject (Minor):
Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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