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Showing 1-10 of 128 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 188 reviews
on September 21, 2017
I love this movie---always have. Maggie is always worth watching, no matter what age. Her acting and mannerisms can't be imitated and like Bette Davis, she's in a category of her own. After rewatching this movie after many years, I realized that "Mona Lisa" with Julia Roberts is very close in storyline to this one and wondered if Hollywood actually just modernized this one. Amazingly similar in all aspects. It's the story of a progressive teacher who tries to enlighten "her girls" with progressive thinking and so gets the hackles up for the staid all-girl's school. Add one nasty girl who in the end gets Miss Brodie fired and you have Mona Lisa all over again. But I love both movies and will watch both over again for the sheer joy of the story.
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on January 16, 2016
I have given this film the highest rating because it tackles an interesting and unexamined phenomenon with depth and nuance without losing the point. Miss Brody is gifted as a teacher, yet so caught up in herself that she becomes a danger to others, particularly her students.

For all of the elevated aesthetics she sprays over her students, she has completely lost track of the line between professional propriety and impropriety. Ultimately, and heartbreakingly, it costs the life of the student most in need of clear-headed guidance and support.

Miss Brody is a caricature of a great many teachers I had in high school and particularly in college. Self-absorbed, passionate, their motto might just as well have been, "Often in Error, Never in Doubt." Fortunately, I chose a mentor who was the opposite and grew immensely by having a positive contrast to Humanities professors who were only too eager and self-approving to waste class time on their pet positions and objections to everything beyond their tower walls.

A lot can be sold to young minds under the banner of idealism and, for a great many, once the habit of idealism become an all-encompassing world view years can be wasted seeing the world as windmills. In my view, Sandy is the heroine of this film for standing up, and putting an end, to Miss Brody. How did she do it? By simply taking the initiative to tell the truth to the right people. Was all the good done in the lives of her students worth the life of the one girl Miss Brody's half-baked idealism ended? As a former student, as a former parent, and as a former teacher, I say "no."

If they still bother teaching professional ethics to student teachers, "The Prime of Miss Brody" should be part of the curricula with ample discussion to debrief afterwards.
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on May 17, 2014
I absolutely LOVED this movie. I love Downton Abbey and especially the Maggie Smith character (Violet), so I began searching out other film roles she appears in. I had never seen The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and thought it should be a good place to start since it was a movie role that earned Maggie Smith an Oscar. Really enjoyed the movie and the discussion of it by the director and one of the other actors. I thought I might then read the book, which I did, but I have to say I did not like the book. In fact, it's one of those books that made a MUCH better movie. The movie has a better structure and "flow," and was much more satisfying than the book.
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on March 26, 2011
This is a really powerful story of what happens when adults, teachers or any others in authority, cross the line and impose their own damaging influences upon children.

Like most people I began this movie seduced by the charismatic Jean Brodie, but as the movie progresses, you see how she is destroying all the lives around her by her ridiculous, convoluted perceptions, seducing them into falling in with her deranged schemes and plans. One teacher who wants only a convential wife and marriage is led into playing a scandalous hidden affair. Brodie throw her students as substitutes for her into the arms of a another teacher, frustrated by a one night stand with Brodie. Not to mention her preaching of questionable politics, values and ethics.

The children of her special set are not encouraged to follow their own gifts, but assigned roles by Brodie, and constantly encouraged to live up them. Even more chilling when the first class moves on after three years with her to the middle or senior school, she picks students with the same physical characteristics from the new class and assigns them the same roles and begins to indoctrinate them the same way.

Brodie herself constantly plays up her romantic and political ideals. Those students, particularly the most vulnerable, try to act out the roles she assigns to them. One follows a truly physically dangerous path in a war torn country, one who is frustrated by her "dependable" label, strives to emulate brodie by having an affair with the teacher that brodie is trying to encourage another, more beautiful girl to assume.

Brodie's influence on all of these children (and some of the adults) is, as one of the girls says, dangerous and unwholesome. Trained in love and war by Brodie, encouraged to be a spy, one girl finally acts to remove the dangerous influence from the school, and is labeled an assassin by Brodie, as well as a conqueror. Sandy then replies that this is what Brodie has always admired, and trained her girls up to emulate and be. The end scene is of Sandy leaving the school, her face set in terrible realization of how, even though she has put a stop to Brodie from doing the same to others in the future (at least at this school) this girl has been shaped, changed and damaged by this woman in ways she will never fully recover from.

For any parent, the idea of such a disturbed person having charge of your child for three years (apparently in this school the teacher retains the same class from age 9 through 12 at least) preaching her odd mixture of deception, political nonsense and lust to these kids makes one have some sympathy for the headmistress, who is portrayed as a very narrow minded, unsympathetic character from the start to the end of the movie. To me, the only sympathetic and sane character in the movie is the girl, Sandy. She starts out rather unlikable, and is never terribly likable even at the end. But you end up understanding why she had to do what she did, even though she has been damaged, not just by Brodie's influences, but by the betrayal she had to stage to put a stop to her.

A really good, if disturbing film.
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on February 5, 2015
Dame Maggie Smith's wonderful performance in this 1968 film won her the Oscar for Best Actress; it's entertaining to see the early sprigs of Downton's Dowager Countess. This tale of a teacher in an Edinburgh girl's school in the 1930s was expanded into an excellent mini-series in 1977 staring Geraldine McEwan (who recently died). This film also stars Robert Stevens and Gordon Jackson (Upstairs Downstairs' butler, Hudson.) This classic is certainly worth a place in one's library.
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on September 24, 2012
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie(1969) is a solid coming-of-age comedy-drama. It's based on the novel by Muriel Spark and the play written by Jay Presson Allen. The film stars Maggie Smith, Pamela Franklin, Gordon Jackson, Celia Johnson, and Robert Stephens. Ronald Neame(The Poseidon Adventure, Meteor) directs. Rod McKuen composed the film's underrated "dippy, mellow, tender" music score. A Prime of Miss Jean Brodie TV show aired on Scottish TV in 1978. The film takes place in Edinburgh during the 1930's. Maggie Smith is quite good as Miss Jean Brodie, a teacher who seems nice, but is good at manipulating her students. Pamela Franklin plays Sandy, a student who rebels against Miss Brodie and is willing to criticize her beliefs and values. The play and the 1969 film take some liberties from Spark's novel. The Miss Brodie TV show takes place in an alternate timeline! A young Jane Carr is adorable as the stuttering Mary McGregor.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was a big hit at the time. Many people have forgotten about it. Some people have never heard of it. This film earned its PG rating. There's a brief nude scene and adult subject matter. Rod McKuen's music for this film was used as stock music in the kung fu film Drunken Master(1978) during tender/comedic scenes. It was also used in the Drunken Master sequels! The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie portrays its characters as flawed and human instead of good and bad. This is a solid movie. It's a must see for people who like plot and character in a movie.
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on September 20, 2013
By far my favourite roll of Maggie Smith, she plays Jean Brodie, a teacher at a private all girl's School in Edinburgh Scotland in the 1930's. Having lost the love of her life, Hugh, at Flanders in WWI, she is torn between her love for the art teacher and the music teacher, both of whom represent her lost love Hugh. She dedicates her life to 'my girls', guiding them through her class & continuing to guide them through life, as she sees it and as how she'd like to live it. Jean Brodie is a woman who just doesn't 'get it' & is rapidly coming to the end of her prime. A fine study of lost love, dedication and coming of age, it's in my opinion the finest movie Maggie Smith ever made. Wonderful supporting roles acted by Gordon Jackson, Pamela Franklin & Jane Carr as Mary MacGregor, this is a must see film, and Oliver's beautiful theme song "Jean" only makes a great film better.
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on November 8, 2012
"The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie" (1968) is the best stage play ever to be presented in movie form..a great movie.

The charge that most modern day movies (and possibly all movies throughout history) are air-headed, no-content exercises in providing viewers with a clever light show along with interesting sound of different flavors is true enough.

The best stage plays over history made us think, appealed to our mentality and education, and needed good actors to get the play writer's point off the stage and into the audience.

Good set decoration and other visuals are nice to have, but not absolutely needed. The Globe Theater in Shakespeare's day had almost no "set decoration" of the type seen in modern times. The "groundlings" (many of whom were well educated and worthy audience members, the noble sort who used to buy "stand up in the back of the theater" 50 cent tickets for Broadway Theater NYC shows 60 years ago) sat on the dirt floor in front of the open air play presented in daylight hours outside before the age of electricity and artificial light, when plays could not be presented lit by candles, the only night-time illumination before Thomas Edison (and others) changed things at the end of the 19th century.

"The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie" (1968) is a very high quality play written in play form by Jay Presson Allen, based on a book by Muriel Sparks, and was a big stage hit both on Broadway in NYC, and in London in England before it came to the screen in 1968.

"A Man For All Seasons" (1966) was another play made into a movie which came to movie houses at roughly the same time. Both movies starred gifted stage actors in lead roles, both movies resulted in Best Actor Academy Awards for the main stars.

"Plays which became movies, and were left mostly untouched" account for some of the very best movies in all movie history.

"The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie" (1968), which got Maggie Smith a well deserved Best Actress Academy Award, is perhaps the very best play ever filmed with the very best results in terms of technical and artistic movie making.

It is a treasure.

The subject of "movies based on plays" needs much more study and publicizing than it ever gets.

The big money from movies never depended on delivering the quality available in movies like "The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie"(1968).

The movie "business" always was (still is, mostly) all about mass taste and appeal to the mostly unwashed, uneducated hordes willing to spend money in return for a light and sound show which they (the hordes) find agreeable, stimulating, and distracting....a brief escape from their hard, unattractive lives, or at least the hard, unattractive parts of their lives.

The percentage of truly "high quality" movies like "The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie" (1968) with great writing, great actor and technical movie work, great music, great direction, all blended wonderfully....the percentage of such movies made over history and still available to be got in the marketplace is tiny.....less than 5% of all movies available, and probably less than that....less than 1%.

It is important to know about the "best of the best" in movies, just as it is regarding stage plays (e.g. important to know that the plays of Shakespeare are "the best of the best," and have never been equaled, or probably ever will be).

"The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie" (1968) is a breathtaking movie based on a great stage play about a brilliant early middle aged female schoolteacher in a private school for girls in Scotland in 1932 who is fired from her job in disgrace, thanks to the head administrator of the school "Miss Brodie" (Maggie Smith) works for, and thanks to help provided Miss Brodie's main enemy, the "Headmistress," by one of Miss Brodie's most "loyal" students and protégés, "Sandy" played by Pamela Franklin (perfectly cast as the ugly duckling intellectual favorite student always described as "reliable," yet never sexually interesting or attractive, even though Franklin appears in almost full frontal nudity poses during a scene with her studio art teacher, "Teddy Lloyd," played wonderfully by Robert Stephens, who is not really aroused by naked "Sandy" and is rebuked in the same scene for thinking only of "Sandy's" teacher, "Jean Brodie," played by Maggie Smith....

It's a movie so good, it should be ranked with "Citizen Kane" (1941) in importance for any who care for great movies over history....one of a handful of movies to take away to an island where the best movies of all are gathered to keep exiles company.

A "Special Features" commentary by director Ronald Neame (1911 - 2010) and actress Pamela Franklin (1950 - ) was added to the 20th Century Fox "Studio Classics" DVD issue of this movie.

The commentary provided by Ronald Neame was produced roughly 40 years after the movie was made, and Mr. Neame was about 85 years old. It is, by far, the very best "add on" commentary to be provided for any video I have ever seen. Mr. Neame is intelligent, complete, and insightful as he guides viewers through the movie and his direction of it. I've never witnessed a better job of "commentary" than this one.

Pamela Franklin's contribution in assisting the commentary is also very well done, and notable. She stopped movie and TV actor work after 1981....and discusses what happened in a straightforward and poignant way during her commentary, compares her good treatment in the UK (England) to bad treatment she got in the USA toward the end of her 56 credit list of movie and TV actor jobs.

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Written by David "Tex" Allen, SAG Actor.
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on August 23, 2017
Maggie Smith's performance stands out for its intelligence and power. Wonderful movie to watch in addition to the reading of its original source, Muriel Spark's novel of the same title.
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on February 14, 2015
Another of my mom's favorite actresses. I saw this in the movie house in 1970 in Flagstaff Arizona playing along with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. My friends of course preferred the Butch Cassidy film but I like this much more. Great acting at it's best. Even back then I could tell that. Today my friend who was with me that day has retracted his opinion and regards this as the superior movie. At least one of us grew up.
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