'Julia' & 'Heaven Can Wait': Jane Fonda & Vanessa Redgrave + Warren Beatty

Vanessa Redgrave and Jane Fonda in Julia by Fred Zinnemann
Julia with Jane Fonda & Vanessa Redgrave

A newly struck print of Fred Zinnemann's moving and beautifully shot 1977 Academy Award nominee Julia will be screened as part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' “Great To Be Nominated” series on Tuesday, April 24, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Producer Richard Roth, screenwriter Alvin Sargent, actress Lisa Pelikan, editor Walter Murch, and director Fred Zinnemann's son, Tim Zinnemann, will participate in a post-screening panel discussion.

Based on Lillian Hellman's autobiographical book Pentimento, Julia stars Jane Fonda – in what may well be her finest performance – as playwright Hellman, who becomes entangled with the anti-Fascist politics of her bosom buddy Julia during World War II. Vanessa Redgrave is outstanding in the title role, deservedly winning a best supporting actress Oscar. (Though she caused a commotion during the 1978 ceremony by attacking “a small bunch of Zionist hoodlums” [who had protested her nomination] during her acceptance speech.) Redgrave, by the way, is the only performer to have won a supporting Academy Award for playing the title role in a movie.

Overall, Julia received 11 Academy Award nominations, winning Oscars for Actor in a Supporting Role (Jason Robards), Actress in a Supporting Role (Vanessa Redgrave), and Writing - Screenplay based on material from another medium (Alvin Sargent). The film also received nominations for Actor in a Supporting Role (Maximilian Schell), Actress in a Leading Role (Jane Fonda), Cinematography (Douglas Slocombe), Costume Design (Anthea Sylbert), Directing (Fred Zinnemann), Film Editing (Walter Murch), Music - Original Score (Georges Delerue) and Best Picture (Richard Roth, producer).

Also, future multiple Oscar-nominee (and two-time Oscar winner) Meryl Streep has a small role in the film.

Faith Hubley, John Hubley, and Garry Trudeau's Oscar-nominated animated short Doonesbury Special will be screened before the feature.

Passes for all the screenings in part four of “Great To Be Nominated” will be available starting April 2 at a cost of $30 for the general public and $25 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. A $5 discount is available for those who wish to renew their passes from part one, two or three of the series. Tickets for the first four individual screenings will be available starting April 9 at a cost of $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Passes and tickets may be purchased by mail, in person at the Academy during regular business hours or, depending on availability, on the night of the screening when the doors open at 6:30 p.m. Curtain time for all features is 7:30 p.m., and pre-show elements will begin at 7 p.m. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 247-3600.

'Heaven Can Wait': Warren Beatty Ethereal Blockbuster Screening

Warren Beatty Buck Henry Heaven Can WaitA remake of Alexander Hall's far superior 1941 supernatural romantic comedy Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Warren Beatty and Buck Henry's 1978 Best Picture nominee Heaven Can Wait will be screened as the next feature of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' “Great To Be Nominated” series.

Heaven Can Wait will screen on Monday, April 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Actress Dyan Cannon, executive producer Hawk Koch, editor Robert C. Jones, and camera operator Nick McLean will participate in a post-screening discussion.

Unlike Alexander Hall's Here Comes Mr. Jordan, which starred Robert Montgomery, Evelyn Keyes, Claude Rains, Edward Everett Horton, and Rita Johnson – all of them in top form (even the usually unbearable James Gleason was acceptable in it) – most of the magic and humor in Heaven Can Wait feels contrived. The chief reason: Warren Beatty, utterly miscast in a role made to order to – well, somebody else. (Can't think of a Robert Montgomery or a William Powell or a Cary Grant or a Joel McCrea in the Hollywood of the late 1970s.)

What prevents Heaven Can Wait from being a complete failure is the supporting cast (especially Dyan Cannon and Charles Grodin), and leading lady Julie Christie. Cannon and Grodin are quite funny; and when Christie is on-screen, the magic is real. Also, I must admit that the movie does look good, thanks to William A. Fraker's cinematography and to the film's Oscar-winning production design team. (See below.)

In Heaven Can Wait, Beatty stars as a professional football quarterback who, following a road accident, is taken to heaven too early. He is then brought back to Earth in the body of a recently deceased millionaire. Dyan Cannon is his unfaithful wife, Julie Christie the woman who comes to love him, and James Mason is Mr. Jordan – a role originally intended for Cary Grant, who refused to come out of retirement to do it.

Heaven Can Wait won an Oscar for Art Direction (Paul Sylbert, Edwin O'Donovan; Set Decoration: George Gaines). It received eight other nominations: Actor in a Leading Role (Warren Beatty), Actor in a Supporting Role (Jack Warden), Actress in a Supporting Role (Dyan Cannon), Cinematography (William A. Fraker), Directing (Beatty, Buck Henry), Music – Original score (Dave Grusin), Best Picture (Beatty, producer) and Writing – Screenplay based on material from another medium (Elaine May, Beatty).

The Oscar-nominated animated short Oh My Darling and the Oscar-nominated live-action short Teenage Father will be screened prior to the feature.

Passes for the remaining screenings in part four of “Great To Be Nominated” are $30 for the general public and $25 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. A $5 discount is available for those who wish to renew their passes from parts one, two or three of the series. Individual tickets are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Passes and tickets may be purchased by mail, in person at the Academy during regular business hours or, depending on availability, on the night of the screening when the doors open at 6:30 p.m. Curtain time for all features is 7:30 p.m., and pre-show elements will begin at 7 p.m. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 247-3600.

'Julia' & 'Heaven Can Wait': Jane Fonda & Vanessa Redgrave + Warren Beatty © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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1 Comment to 'Julia' & 'Heaven Can Wait': Jane Fonda & Vanessa Redgrave + Warren Beatty

  1. Priscilla

    “Beatty utterly miscast”. Good god. Please don't keep your personal prejudice against an actor a secret.
    Beatty is wonderful. His chemistry with especially Jack Warden and Buck Henry is respectively touching and hilarious. He's a perfect center to a perfect ensemble cast. Period.