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THE PASSIONATE FRIENDS

Director: DAVID LEAN

U.K • 1949 • BLACK AND WHITE • 91 MIN.


Based on a novel by h. G. Wells, this is a return to the emotional terrain of Brief Encounter, as a middle-class housewife (Ann todd, the third Mrs. Lean) finds herself torn between her dry financier husband and a dashing former sweetheart (trevor howard). the chief differences from the earlier film are the more lavish use of settings (from Alpine romance to near-suicide on the London underground) and a greater emphasis on the husband, here superbly played by Claude Rains, looking for all the world as if he is still on the rebound from the romantic bruising of Alfred hitchcock’s Notorious. Having seized the directing reins from Ronald neame, Lean pulls out all the stops—elaborate play with light and shadow, symbolic use of mist and storms, and several sequences (like an electrifying scene involving some incriminating theatre tickets) that could—and indeed have—become textbook examples of dynamic montage.

‘The Passionate Friends’ is showing second in a double bill with ‘Brief Encounter’.
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