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Sherlock’s Classics: Film Review – Julia (1977)

Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Robards and Maximilian Schell excel in this beautifully crafted drama of celebrated New York playwright Lillian Hellman who undertakes a dangerous mission to smuggle funds into Nazi Germany in 1937 at the request of an old and most cherished friend.

Based on a true story, screen veterans Jane Fonda as Lillian Hellman, Vanessa Redgrave as the enigmatic Julia, Jason Robards as legendary author Dashiell Hammett and Maximilian Schell as Julia’s friend, Johann, are right at the top of their game with tour-de-force performances, never better!

Also marks the big screen debut of Meryl Streep in a small but effective role.

First rate screenplay by Oscar winner Alvin Sargent (Paper Moon, Ordinary People), from ‘Pentimento,’ in the memoirs of Lillian Hellman, with tautly refined, sensitive and respectful direction by two time Oscar winner Fred Zinnemann (From Here to Eternity, The Day of the Jackal).

Along with dazzling cinematography by Douglas Slocombe (The Lion in Winter, Raiders of the Lost Ark), superlative Production and Costume Design, Editing and European locations, they all come together to create a haunting, poignant and thoroughly gripping and spellbinding experience!

Nominated for 11 Academy awards, winning three for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Jason Robards), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Vanessa Redgrave) and Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Alvin Sargent).

Stars ****1/2

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