David Lean directs Ann Todd, Claude Rains and Trevor Howard in this romantic drama where two old lovers, now both married, reunite twice over the years with damaging consequences.
While the first hour of this can feel very much like a colder, upper class retread of Brief Encounter something happens towards the end that surpasses the more well known movie. There are a domino rally of expert set pieces involving a returning boat, a cuckold candidly revealing his disappointment, a goodbye on a bench and tube line finale that really cook. The emotional turmoil is savage, Lean treats each closing separation like a mini-thriller, it really hits you with a wallop. Todd is a fascinating lead, Rains always excellent value. With a New Years party at a Chelsea Art Club and a trip to the mountains of Switzerland this is also an obvious influence on Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread. Will rewatch soon.
Perfect Double Bill: Brief Encounter (1945)
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