You may recognize David Lean’s name from famous movies such as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965), and A Passage to India (1984), as well as Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948). You are also probably familiar with Noël Coward, one of the most famous English playwrights of the 20th century.
Brief Encounter (1945) is based on a one-act, half-hour play of 1936 by Noël Coward, titled Still Life. It’s a story about love and convention in 1938 suburban London, filmed at a time when, post-WWII, women’s participation in the war effort was leading to a change in how women were seen and how they saw themselves. As a result, social mores were beginning to change. In fact, at a showing of the Brief Encounter in one suburban British cinema in 1945, one woman in the front row laughed at the restraint the lovers were showing, and other women further back in the cinema hall echoed her laugh. The producers worried that maybe the tone of Brief Encounter was outdated, already a thing of the past.
In fact, there’s such delicacy in the acting of the two protagonists that this movie will never get outdated. Celia Johnson’s facial expressions, redolent of silent movies (an observation that she herself made at the time the movie was shot), and the whole cinematic vocabulary of suppressed passion and doomed love turn Brief Encounter into a classic.
I wish there was a way to borrow more films from the Criterion Collection. This one I found at the British Council Library.
Mira, Nice review! It's always a good bet to go through the Criterion Collection, where one of my all-time favorite films is Peter Weir's "The Last Wave" with Richard Chamberlain.
P.S. Good use of the word "git," one of those great slang words that Brits use to perfection and that don't get used near enough on this side of the pond.
Well, the video was fun, I have to say :), but somehow it only made me want to watch the movie again! :)
A real classic! You're right, it shows that a captivating story doesn't have to be flashy or large scale. However, I must admit, I struggle to watch it with a straight face after it was parodied by a British comedian called Victoria Wood. I believe the sketch can be found on YouTube, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajC4Az...
Yes, the more I think about it, the more I like it. It's amazing what a director, several actors, and a small film crew a film crew can make with a minimal story.
Sounds like a movie I'd like to see. Thanks for the review.