Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The

The brillance of Muriel Spark’s enduring novel is reinforced by this adaptation starring Maggie Smith. Jean Brodie is the story of the Edinburgh teacher whose fiancee was killed in WW1. She scandalises her colleagues at the Marcia Blane School for Girls by ignoring most of the curriculum and instead pampering her favourite pupils – ‘la creme de la creme’ with extra-curricular outings and discussions. The girls find evidence of a liaison between the music teacher Gordon Lowther and Miss Brodie who actually has feelings for the married art teacher, Teddy Lloyd. These affairs along with her admiration for Mussolini and Franco cause her eventual dismissal.

Maggie Smith plays the role of Jean Brodie with relish, bringing her theatrical gestures and romantic fantasies vividly to life. Much of the action takes place inside the school, where Miss Brodie for a time rules supreme among her select coterie. Some 30 years after its first screening, the film offers us again the opportunity to consider a teachers role.

Director: Ronald Neame
UK, 1967.
116 mins.

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