Julia (1977) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • At the behest of an old and dear friend, playwright Lillian Hellman undertakes a dangerous mission to smuggle funds into Nazi Germany.

  • This Oscar-winning drama, based on the writing of Lillian Hellman, depicts the relationship between two friends and its unexpected consequences. After Lillian, a renowned playwright, reunites in Russia with her childhood playmate Julia, the writer is recruited to smuggle funds into Germany to aid the anti-Nazi movement. Waiting in the wings is Lillian's lover and mentor, Dashiell Hammett, who is unaware of her dangerous assignment.

  • American playwright Lillian Hellman recounts a story from the mid-1930s leading into WWII concerning her best childhood friend, the wealthy Julia, who was raised by her maternal grandparents. At the time of this story, Hellman is just starting her writing career, and is in a relationship with older novelist Dashiell Hammett who's also her mentor. Julia's a medical student, living in Vienna where she hoped to study under luminaries such as Sigmund Freud. Visits between Lily and Julia are infrequent due to the Nazis rising to power in Both Germany and Austria. Lily discovers that Julia has been hospitalised from beatings revived from the Nazis, due to her assisting her school colleagues. This action by Julia only strengthens her resolve towards activism against anything she sees as being socially or politically corrupt. Lily's career begins to blossom, albeit with its own obstacles. Afterwards, she's invited to attend a conference in Russia, but she plans on stopping in Vienna en route to see Julia if she is still there. In spite of her attempts to contract Julia, she not heard from herempts. Lillian learns through a friend of Julia's that she is making a request of her friend; Julia wants Lillian to smuggle $50,000 of Julia's money into Germany to help the resistance. Despite not seeing herself as a heroic-type, and despite the added personal risk of being Jewish in Nazi Germany, Lily agrees. En route, Lilian has to learn who she can and cannot trust, reading those cues incorrectly which could lead to her and Julia's demise. Lily will also learn of another request from her friend, one of a more personal nature, and as such perhaps more important to Lily to achieve.

  • From "Pentimento," the memoirs of late playwright Lillian Hellman, JULIA covers those years in the 1930s when Lillian attained fame with the production of her first play "The Children's Hour" on Broadway. Not surprisingly, it centers on Lillian's relationship with her lifelong friend, Julia. It is a relationship that goes beyond mere acquaintance and one for which the word "love" seems appropriate. While Julia attends the University in Vienna, studying with such luminaries as Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein, Lillian suffers through revisions of her play with her mentor and sometimes lover Dashiell Hammett at a New England beach house. After becoming a celebrated playwright, Lillian is invited to a writers' conference in Russia. Julia, having taken up the battle against fascism, enlists Lillian to smuggle money through Nazi Germany which will assist in the Anti-Fascist cause. It is a dangerous mission especially for a Jewish intellectual on her way to communist Russia. During a brief meeting with Julia on this trip in Berlin, Lillian learns that Julia has had a child who is called Lilly. While in Moscow, Lillian learns of Julia's murder. The details of her death are shrouded in secrecy. Lillian sadly travels to London and then to Alsace to search for her namesake, the child she had promised Julia to care for.


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