The Group is a 1966 ensemble film directed by Sidney Lumet based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Mary McCarthy about the lives of a group of eight female graduates from Vassar from 1933 to 1940.
|Directed by||Sidney Lumet|
|Written by||Sidney Buchman|
|Based on||The Group|
by Mary McCarthy
|Produced by||Sidney Buchman|
|Edited by||Ralph Rosenblum|
|Music by||Charles Gross|
Famartists Productions S.A.
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Box office||$6 million|
The cast of this social satire includes Candice Bergen, Joan Hackett, Elizabeth Hartman, Shirley Knight, Jessica Walter, Kathleen Widdoes, and Joanna Pettet. The film also features small roles for Hal Holbrook, Carrie Nye, James Broderick, Larry Hagman and Richard Mulligan. The film touched on controversial topics for its time: free love, contraception, abortion, lesbianism, and mental illness.
After their days at a prestigious Eastern university, eight devoted women friends go their separate ways. Wealthy and very beautiful Lakey, always regarded as their leader, leaves for Europe to begin a new life on her own.
The domestic lives of the others go mainly awry. Priss marries an overbearing, controlling doctor and has two miscarriages before she gives birth to a son. Kay, who was Lakey's pet and was always less sophisticated and wealthy than the other members of the group, marries an abusive playwright who cheats on her. After an unhappy affair with a cold, sarcastic painter, Dottie gives up a flamboyant lifestyle in Greenwich Village to settle down with a dull Arizona businessman. Pokey has her hands full with two sets of twins. Helena travels the world but is unable to find happiness at home, while catty and ambitious Libby becomes successful in the literary world despite lacking depth. Polly has an affair with a married man, but later finds real happiness with a kind doctor.
With the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939, Lakey then returns home. When the others discover that the woman with her is more than just a traveling companion, they realize that she is a lesbian. After a tragedy that results in the death of Kay in 1940, Lakey joins them at the funeral for one last time together as the group.
- Candice Bergen as Elinor "Lakey" Eastlake
- Joan Hackett as Dottie Renfrew Latham
- Elizabeth Hartman as Priss Hartshorn Crockett
- Shirley Knight as Polly Andrews Ridgeley
- Joanna Pettet as Kay Strong Peterson
- Mary-Robin Redd as Mary "Pokey" Prothero Beauchamp
- Jessica Walter as Libby MacAusland
- Kathleen Widdoes as Helena Davison
- James Broderick as Dr. James "Jim" Ridgeley
- James Congdon as Sloan Crockett
- Larry Hagman as Harald Peterson
- Hal Holbrook as Gus Leroy
- Richard Mulligan as Dick Brown
- Robert Emhardt as Henry Andrews
- Carrie Nye as Norine Blake
- Philippa Bevans as Mrs. Hartshorn
- Leta Bonynge as Mrs. Prothero
- Marion Brash as Radio Man's Wife
- Sarah Burton as Mrs. Davison
- Flora Campbell as Mrs. MacAusland
- Bruno Di Cosmi as Nils
- Leora Dana as Mrs. Renfrew
- Bill Fletcher as Bill, the Actor
- George Gaynes as Brook Latham
- Martha Greenhouse as Mrs. Bergler
- Russell Hardie as Mr. Davison
- Vince Harding as Mr. Eastlake
- Doreen Lang as Nurse Swenson
- Chet London as Radio Man
- Baruch Lumet as Mr. Schneider
- John O'Leary as Put Blake
- Hildy Parks as Nurse Catherine
- Lidia Prochnicka as The Baroness
- Polly Rowles as Mrs. Andrews
- Douglas Rutherford as Mr. Prothero
- Truman Smith as Mr. Bergler
- Loretta White as Mrs. Eastlake
The Group was released to DVD by MGM Home Video on January 15, 2011, via the MGM Choice Collection as a Region 1 manufacture-on-demand DVD.
Critic Moira Finnie of FilmStruck sums up The Group:
The crowd of highly educated, privileged characters on the screen in The Group approached their postgraduate life in the Great Depression as though it was a midterm exam to be aced and filed away, with each milestone treated like a fast course in typing or dancing, another skill acquired, to be trotted out at the next luncheon with the other girls in the group. Full of ideas about a woman's role in the society, but with little real life experience other than in school, the movie chronicles their continued education in the real world.
- A. H. Weiler (June 13, 1965). "Happy 'Group' Portrait". The New York Times. p. X13.
- "Box Office Information for The Group". The Numbers. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
- "The Group". TCM database. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
- "Big Rental Pictures of 1966", Variety, 4 January 1967 pg 8
- Saito, Stephen (April 14, 2011). "Five of Sidney Lumet's Lesser-Known Films Worth Seeking Out". IFC. Retrieved June 10, 2015.
- Finnie, Moira. "In the Loop with The Group (1966)". Streamline : The FilmStruck Blog. Retrieved 16 September 2009.
- "Review: 'The Group'". Variety. 1966. Retrieved June 10, 2015.
- "IMDB.com: Awards for The Group". imdb.com. Retrieved 2010-02-26.[unreliable source?]