Maggie Smith is so witty and commanding in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie that you might forget the script paints Jean Brodie as an ultimately self-deluding spinster. Dame Maggie won the first of her two Oscars for playing a teacher in 1930s Edinburgh more in thrall to her romantic notions of art and beauty than the real world (she exalts the Mona Lisa and Mussolini with equal fervour), a cultivator of worshipping "Brodie Girls". Smith's expert playing makes many of the brogue-heavy Brodie-isms worth memorising ("She seeks to intimidate me by the use of quarter-hours")... and raises the picture above its generally theatrical style. Real-life husband Robert Stephens plays Jean's married lover; Celia Johnson excels as the hostile headmistress; and Pamela Franklin is the deadpan whistle-blower within Miss Brodie's coven. The dippy music of Rod McKuen helps mark the movie as more of a reflection of the 1960s than the 30s. --Robert Horton [show more]
Jean Brodie is an eccentric Schoolteacher at Marcia Blaine School for Girls in 1930s Edinburgh. She foists her own (often questionable) ideals upon "her girls", berating for instance Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin while singing the praises of Mussolini! She wages war against group sports, girl guides and the second rate. Ultimately unable to live out her fantasies herself, she looks to her pupils to fulfil them, even to the point of encouraging one to have an affair with a married teacher Jean loves but cannot bring herself to have a fully fledged affair with. Miss Brodie also incurs the wrath of the Headmistress Miss MacKay because of her unconventional teaching methods, which comes to a head when an outrageous letter penned by a pupil pretending to be Jean and written to the Music Master ("I must congratulate you warmly upon your sexual intercourse, as well as your singing...") ends up in the wrong hands. Jean Brodie's methods eventually cause resentment and jealously and lead to her downfall.
Maggie Smith shines in the role she was born to play, giving a funny and moving performance and relishing the many quotable lines ("For those that like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing they like...") There is a fine supporting cast including Miss Smith's real-life husband (at the time) Robert Stephens, Gordon Jackson, Celia Johnson and Pamela Franklin. A highly enjoyable film of a much-loved novel.
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Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 or region free DVD player in order to play Maggie Smith stars in the film which won her an Academy Award for Best Actress THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE “I am in the business of putting old heads on young shoulders and all my pupils are the crème de la crème Give me a girl at an impressionable age and she’ll be mine for life I am dedicated to you in my prime” Edinburgh 1932 The world is on the cusp of change and at the forefront leading the charge is the estimable Miss Brodie teacher at the Marcia Blaine School for girls As a new term begins for Miss Brodie she is fully prepared For whatever the subject Miss Brodie is adept at bringing it around to the experiences girls should look forward to when they too are in their prime Meanwhile Miss Brodie’s personal life is not so clear cut torn as she is between the passionate advances of a young married artist and the more conservative desires of a mature associate she nevertheless manages to walk a strident path somewhere between the two But Miss Brodie’s philosophy for living rubs up against the school’s rigid moral standards and when one of her young charges is inspired into a tragic act of foolhardy bravery an act of almost religious betrayal follows that will shake the firm convictions of Miss Brodie to the core
Maggie Smith stars as the titular Edinburgh schoolmistress, a role for which she received a Best Actress Oscar. Miss Jean Brodie nurtures her pupils in a flamboyant style, becoming quite an inspiration to the girls. She presents life as one long romantic adventure while espousing her wisdom on art and music, and passionately defending fascism. Ultimately, one of her pupils betrays her, first by seducing the man Miss Jean Brodie loves and finally by claiming that her teacher's destructive influence caused the death of a fellow student.