As an offering in their Retro Cinema Series, the Downing Film Center will screen the 1969 film The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie beginning Saturday, July 13.
Based on the novel by Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie stars Maggie Smith in the title role. Smith won an Academy Award for her delicately textured portrayal of an eccentric teacher at an exclusive Scottish girl’s school. Miss Jean exhorts her “gels” to follow their hearts and never lose their youthful idealism. Unfortunately for her, she also stumps for her favorite political figures: Mussolini and Franco. In addition, she can’t keep the innermost details of her private life a secret, and in fact boasts about her sex life to her students. Her prize pupil (Pamela Franklin) becomes so much a clone of Miss Jean that she ends up a threat to the teacher.
In its review of the film, Variety stated: “Smith’s performance is a triumph. Other cast principals, all of whom project excellent performances, include Robert Stephens, the art teacher, Pamela Franklin, cast as a mysteriously-adult child and the eventual betrayer of Smith, and Gordon Jackson, impressive as the pitiable, gutless music teacher. Celia Johnson’s key adversary role as the school head-mistress comes off magnificently.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie will have four screenings at the Downing Film Center. The schedule for showings is: Saturday (7/13) noon, Sunday (7/14) 7 p.m., Monday (7/15) 2 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $7 for the general public – Downing members will be admitted free. For more information or to make a reservation (for this film only), call 845-561-3686 / 800-974-8592 and leave a message. The Downing Film Center is located at 19 Front St., Newburgh. Visit the website at downingfilmcenter.com for information.