The Americanization of Emily

Director: Arthur Hiller
Year Released: 1964
Rating: 2.0

James Garner is - for lack of a better term - an American pimp, who arranges for top military brass to get all the rare food, drink and women they need, all the while avoiding hand-to-hand combat, standing behind his personal philosophy of cowardice. Admiral Melvyn Douglas, in one of his lunatic surges, conceives of an idea to make the Navy look good by having the first man killed at Normandy be a Navy soldier. Paddy Chayefsky wrote this, and it's a lot like his other work (I'm not a fan): preachy, tiresome and bi-polar in the sudden shift from serenity/lightheartedness into lunacy/hysteria (see Network). The Garner-Julie Andrews union doesn't work - she goes from prude to open-minded woman in the span of a single scene - and each is less a person than a symbolic representative of his/her country (America is equated with propaganda, sneakiness, whorish tendencies and bravado, England cold, frigid and by-the-book). There's a general rule of writing that this picture ignores: "if you want to send a message, use Western Union."