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Brief Encounter (Special Edition) [DVD] [1945]

Price: £12.74 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Brief Encounter (Special Edition) [DVD] [1945] + Casablanca [1942] [DVD] + Gone With The Wind [DVD] [1939]
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Product Features

  • Interactive Menus
  • In Depth Biographies
  • Stills Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

Product details

  • Actors: Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, Stanley Holloway, Joyce Carey, Cyril Raymond
  • Directors: David Lean
  • Writers: David Lean, Anthony Havelock-Allan, Noel Coward, Ronald Neame
  • Producers: Anthony Havelock-Allan, Noel Coward, Ronald Neame
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: ITV Studios Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Sep 2008
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000056MKW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,507 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

A respectable, happily married doctor (Trevor Howard) comes to the aid of an equally upstanding housewife (Celia Johnson) when a passing train blows cinder into her eye. Thus begins a tentative romance, conducted in the tearooms and railway cafe of a small English town. David Lean's classic study of a peculiarly British affair, played with straight bat and stiff-upper lip, features Rachmaninov on the soundtrack, and garnered Oscar nominations for director, screenplay and Celia Johnson. Also included is the 20-minute documentary 'A Profile of Brief Encounter'.


Expanded from a one-act stage play by Noel Coward, Brief Encounter is without doubt one of the true masterpieces of British film history. The story seems slight--a respectable suburban housewife has a chance meeting with a handsome married doctor, their friendship becomes romance, but they feel the pressures of convention pulling their relationship apart--but the writing, acting and direction are sublime, turning what might have been just another melodrama into a memorable and heartbreaking story of impossible love. David Lean went on to make much bigger films than this, but few of those epics packed the emotional punch of this picture, set in a mundane world of railway stations, semi-detached houses and inexpensive cafes. Trevor Howard is perfectly cast as Alec, the doctor, but the film belongs above all to Celia Johnson, as the heroine Laura. It's easy to mock her clipped ultra-English accent, but she gives one of the greatest screen performances imaginable, brilliantly evoking how an ordinary life can be turned upside down by unexpected passion. Throw in the superb use of Rachmaninov's swooning Second Piano Concerto, shrewd supporting acting from Cyril Raymond, Joyce Carey and Everley Gregg, and some of the best black-and-white photography of its era, and the result is irresistible. Anyone who isn't besotted with Brief Encounter has either never been in love, or doesn't deserve to be. --Andy Medhurst --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A. Film Lover on 22 Nov 2009
Format: Blu-ray
Do not listen to the person who said this is less than great despite the claims of being image-conscious. I've seen 35mm prints that weren't as good as this Blu-Ray. It's been lovingly restored and looks absolutely fantastic in every way. The negative must have been in very good shape, despite what Mr. Image Conscious says. In fact, it's a shame Mr. Image Conscious can't be specific - point out the specific things that he thinks are less than great - that would be illuminating. As it is, if you love the film I can't imagine you wouldn't be thrilled with the Blu-Ray. There is no extant DVD version of this film that comes within a country mile of this transfer - I'd advise a trip to the optometrist for anyone who tells you otherwise.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Mark Barry HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Feb 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
London in 1945 is a world of Watney's Brown Ale, Sunlight Soap and Capstan's Full Strength Cigarettes. There are usherettes in cinemas, sticky buns under glass, pigskin handbags and big-wheeled perambulators. And into the Refreshment Rooms of Milford Junction Train Station step a man and a woman catching the 5:40 to Churley and the 5:50 to Ketchworth who sip tea and say things like "rather" and "beastly" and "most awfully sorry". And into our romantic consciousness lodges David Lean's morality tale and cinematic legend..."Brief Encounter".

Lean picked up the option on Noel Coward's 1935 short play "Still Life" and quickly extended and renamed it "Brief Encounter" with the help of Anthony Havelock-Allen and Ronald Neame. It was then decided by both its backers and the British Government to locate the shoot at Carnforth Train Station in Lancashire (the Second World War was winding down at this point in history, but night-bombing was still a very real threat in London). Filming began in February 1945 and was shot at night after the stations business day had ended. UK released in November 1945 (1946 in the USA), it received three Academy Nominations - Best Actress, Screenplay and Director (a first for a British Director).

Cyril Raymond plays Laura's rather soppy husband Fred Jesson who on seeing Laura in distress offers to help her by inviting her to do the Times Crossword Puzzle with him. He is a nice man and they are a 'happily married couple' - but he is clearly unaware of the hurricane taking place in London every Thursday between his demure wife and a total stranger.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By J. Aitken VINE VOICE on 31 Oct 2009
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Pointless to review this classic film for its story, performances, and direction which are all superb. What one can certainly marvel at is the sensational quality of the restored print. On Blu Ray Brief Encounter emerges with such clarity of detail such beautiful gradations of the black and white spectrum, that one simply marvels at the transformation. The soundtrack is also refurbished and this adds greatly to ones enjoyment of the performances.Anyone who loves this film and would like to see it in all its splendour would do well to make the transition to Blu Ray, which seems fast becoming the industry standard.

I loved watching this favourite again and in Blu Ray it has found a worthy home for the future.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Tony Roberts on 30 Oct 2009
Format: DVD
A simple tale of two strangers meeting in a railway station falling in love but who can never take it any further.

Some of the cinematography is beautifully done; the reflections from the train windows, the merging of the story being told in the past to the present when the narrative fades, and the symbolism of the speeding trains through the station can stand up to anything done today.

Its a well told story, with great performances by the lead actors. The self-sacrifice by each is something of an era that's gone, as we all too frequently see gratuitous sex portrayed in today's films (a reflection of the selfish society we live in).

You end up feeling for the characters, but also in a strange way relieved they did not commit adultery.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By David R. Bishop VINE VOICE on 13 Mar 2007
Format: DVD
This is my favorite British film of all time. Brilliant writing, fine acting, ecconomicaly concise production and inspired direction all combine to make a landmark movie and a defining moment in social history.

Celia Johnson is terrific! She is talented and beautiful. More than girlishly pretty, she has the deep resonant beauty of a full grown woman. Her eyes are huge and so expressive, as she copes with the guilt and sordidness of an extra-marital love. She narrates to move the story along in places. Her performance draws you in and holds you. A lesser actress could not have pulled it off so well.

Trevor Howard plays her illicit love. Their screen chemistry is electric. Stanley Holloway and Joyce Carey provide a light sub-plot, which compliments the main story.

The film was released in the Spring of 1945, just as World War 2 was ending in Europe. Whether on purpose or not, the film announced a return to peacetime morality. Speak to an old person who was there, and you will find out that all sorts went on during the war when couples were separated, and there was horrific stress.

The characters fall in love, but their love remains unrequited. Love is allowed, but the heart is not allowed to rule the head. The film is set in an unspecified time of peace with no blackout, no bombsites, and with cakes and chocolate freely available. There is a 'forward to the past' kind of message.

If you've never seen it, you are in for a rare treat. If you haven't seen it for a while, then it is well worth revisiting. My review title is a line from a Noel Coward type song. I thought it fitted since he wrote the screenplay, and the main setting is a railway station.
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