29 November 2008

The Browning Version (starring Michael Redgrave)

'The Browing Version' is one of many films we acquired from someone who collected it from a free give-away with a weekend newspaper. It's not one I am ever likely to have chosen myself - although I quite enjoyed it.

The story is an unusual one, featuring the last day of term in a British boys’ public school in the 1950s. The unpopular classics master Andrew Crocker-Harris (brilliantly played by Michael Redgrave) is leaving. His colleagues and students see him as unemotional, almost ‘dead’ emotionally, and have no regrets about his leaving.

However, during the day, Crocker-Harris's real self starts to show itself in various ways.

We meet his unbelievably ghastly wife (Jean Kent), and we also get to know a boy in his class who’s fairly empathic and who quite likes classics. We see the master through their eyes, and new facets emerge.

We meet, too, a colleague who has been conducting an affair with his wife.. and many more. There's not much plot, but the gradual unfolding of a complex and rather sad personality.

The acting is good, in a 1950s kind of way (once we got past the pseudo-BBC accents) and the directing is good too. I felt that the people were believable and the flow of the story works well. On the other hand, it was rather depressing overall, with no clear conclusion.

Black and white, rate U in the UK, but probably not of much interest to anyone under the age of about 12 or 13.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

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