Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The (1969): Maggie Smith in her Oscar Performance

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Based on the novel by Muriel Spark, “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,” which is set in the 1930s, stars Maggie Smith in the title role as a charismatic and totalitarian teacher at a girls school in Edinburgh
Ronald Neame directed a narrative penned by Jay Presson Allen, based on her stage play as well as on Spark’s novel. Vanessa Redgrave played the role on stage in London.
Smith won the 1969 Best Actress Oscar Award for her deliciousy portraityal of an eccentric teacher at an exclusive Scottish girl’s school. Miss Jean encourages her students to follow their hearts and under no circumstances to lose their youthful idealism.
In her lectures, Miss Jean gets particularly excited when she talks about her favorite political figures, whoi happen to be dictators Mussolini and Franco.
Unable to keep the innermost details of her private life a secret, she boasts about her sex life to her students, specifically her relationship with her artist lover, Teddy Lloyd (played by Robert Stephens, who was Smith’s husband at the time), a married Catholic man with children, who’s unwiling to break u his bond for Miss Jean.
Her best and favorite student, Sandy (Pamela Franklin) becomes so much imitative Miss Jean herself that she soon becomes a threat to the teacher.  It doesn’t help that Sany is determined to seduce Teddy away from her teacher.
The most sober charactrer in the film is Miss mackay (the great Celia Johnson), the dour headmistress who’s critical of Miss jean, realizing the potentially bad influence she might have on the students, and vocalizing her strong disagreement over her imporper instruction methods.
In a key scene, Miss Jean takes her students on a visit to the home of fellow teacher Gordon (Gordon Lowther), who is more interested in her than she in him.
In the end, Miss Jean loses her position, but not the hearts of her devoted students.
The box-office success of Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was due in great part to the popularity of the title song, “Jean,” with music and lyrics by Rod McKuen.
Oscar Nominations: 2
Actress: Maggie Smith
Song: Jean, music and lyrics by Rod McKuen
Oscar Awards: 1
Actress
Oscar Context
 
The winner of Best Song was “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” by Burt Bachrach and Hal David from the popular Western, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
 In 1969, Smith competed for the best Actress Oscar with Genevieve Bujold in “Anne of the Thousand Days,” Jane Fonda in “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” Liza Minnelli in “The Sterile Cuckoo,” and Jean Simmons in “The Happy Ending.”
Cast
Jean Brodie (Maggie Smith)
Teddy Lloyd (Robert Stephens)
Sandy (Pamela Franklin)
Gordon Lowther (Gordon Jackson)
Miss MacKay (Celia Johnson)
Jenny (Diane Grayson)
Mary McGregor (Jane Carr)
Monica (Shirley Steedman)
Emily Carstairs (Lavinia Lang)
Helen McPhee (Antoinette Biggerstaff)
Credits:
Produced by Robert Fryer
Directed by Ronald Neame
Camera: Ted Moore
Production design: John Howell
Art Direction: Brian Herbert
Running time: 116 Minutes

 

 

 

 

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