The Passionate Friends (1949)
Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 9
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 2
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 1
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 186
David Lean directed this romantic drama, scripted by Eric Ambler from a novel by H.G. Wells. Mary Justin (Ann Todd) is married to wealthy financier Howard Justin (Claude Rains), and while their marriage allows her to lead a comfortable lifestyle, there's little excitement in their relationship. While visiting Switzerland, Mary happens to run into Steve Stratton (Trevor Howard), with whom she was romantically involved years before she wed Howard. Mary finds herself falling for Steve once again,
Jan 1, 1948 Wide
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Betty Ann Davies
Polished acting, masterly direction and an excellent script put The Passionate Friends in the top rank of class British productions.
There's a degree of emotional subtlety here that often went missing in the director's later work.
Somehow the simple expedient of raising their characters several rungs up the social and financial ladder and giving the roles to well-dressed stars has not brought a more impressive picture from the Messrs. Neame and Lean.
The glossy direction of the talented Lean made it watchable but only mildly pleasing as soapy entertainment.
A film directed by the great David Lean is always a treat, and this one is no exception.
Rains is terrific as the enraged cuckold, though, while the Swiss scenery, captured in shimmering monochrome by DoP Guy Green, offers a telling metaphor for Todd's glacial beauty.
It's a fascinating snapshot of middle-class mores during the post-War socialist revolution, but it cries out for a heroine of Celia Johnson's sensitivity.
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