Julia (1977): Starring Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Robards, Maximilian Schell, Rosemary Murphy, Meryl Streep, Lisa Pelikan, Susan Jones, Cathleen Nesbitt, Hal Holbrook, Dora Doll, Elisabeth Mortensen, Mark Metcalf, Maurice Denham, Stefan Gryff, Molly Urquhart, Jacques David, Phillip Siegel, Anthony Carrick, Ann Quensberry, Jacqueline Staup, Hans Verner, Edmond Bernard, Christian De Tilliere, Francis Lemaire, Jacques Disses, Lambert Wilson, Dick Marr, Don Koll....Director Fred Zinnemann, Screenplay Alvin Sargent.
Released in 1977, audiences who had read American playwright and screenwriter Lillian Hellman's autobiographical novel "Pentimento", were thrilled to watch this tale unfold with fine performances by Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave and Jason Robards. Director Fred Zinneman (From Here To Eternity, The Nun's Story) recreates a time in Lillian Hellman's life with vivid intensity and powerful emotional impact. Jane Fonda as Lillian is possibly her greatest performance. She captures the spirit of the Louisiana-born playwright quite well and Hellman herself must have been impressed. Hellman was still alive at this time (born 1905 died 1984). Among Miss Hellman's finest works include "The Children's Hour", "The Little Foxes", "The North Star", "The Dark Angel" and "Toys In The Attick" . The film follows the life of Hellman and covers areas that are well-known, such as her long-term relationship with mystery writer Dashiel Hemmett, played by Jason Robards, her professional relationship with author Dorothy Parker (portrayed by Rosemary Murphy), and her love of the city of Paris. But the film focuses on her little-known relationship with a childhood friend Julia (Vanessa Redgrave in a magnificent performance). Julia studies medicine in Vienna but World War II breaks out. Julia becomes a socialist and political activist who zealously opposes Nazism and Fascism. She goes as far as to rescue the lives of Jews and other victims of Hitler's regime. As such, she is always in mortal danger. She maintains contact with Lillian through letters and eventually asks for her help on a mission. Lillian travels to Moscow via Berlin, the heart of danger at this time. Will Lillian reunite with Julia ? Will the mission be accomplished ? Will things ever be the same now that WWII has begun ? While the film is long, bittersweet and somewhat scary in its powerful account, it's a well-written film and Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave, two noted stars, do their roles justice. Look for a brief cameo by Meryl Streep, not yet a big star, as Julia's care-free friend Ann Marie. Lillian Helman is finally vindicated in this fine tribute to her as Hollywood of the late 70's was far more forgiving and liberal than the old Hollywood of the 40's and 50's which had blacklisted Hellman as communist and kept her from writing plays or film scripts. With somewhat "stern" cinematography by veteran film-maker Douglas Slocombe and haunting music by Georges Delerue, this is an emotionally charged film that will move you and stir your soul. It's a beautiful, tragic tale of two friends, full of the power of human love.