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|Directed by||Sidney Lumet|
|Produced by||Sidney Buchman|
|Written by||Sidney Buchman|
|Based on||The Group|
by Mary McCarthy
|Music by||Laurence Rosenthal|
|Edited by||Ralph Rosenblum|
Famartists Productions S.A.
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Box office||$6 million|
The Group is a 1966 ensemble film directed by Sidney Lumet based on the novel of the same name by Mary McCarthy about the lives a group of eight female graduates from a Vassar-like college South Tower from 1933 to 1940.
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. For its time, the film touched on controversial topics, such as free love, contraception, abortion, lesbianism, and mental illness.
After their university days, eight women go their separate ways. 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 has married a doctor but has two miscarriages. Kay weds a playwright who cheats on her. 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.
As for the others, Polly has an affair with a married man, Helena travels the world but is unable to find happiness at home, while Libby, a success in the literary world, is frigid in her personal life.
With the war's intensity building 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 one of the women in 1940, Lakey leads them to the funeral for one last time together as a group.
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.