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on 2 December 2010
In spite of being a great admirer of David Lean's earlier films and being in my fifties, I had never seen this up to now. The photography is superb, the acting of Todd, Rains, and Howard is such a delight, and the storyline is absorbing. Why this film has rarely, if ever, been shown on British television is a mystery to me. I took a chance buying this but now couldn't do without it in my collection. This is an example of David Lean before the overblown films of his later years and as such it oozes class. Also, the quality of the DVD is pristine. David Lean had the almost unique ability to make each frame of his black and white films look like a studio portrait and my word "The Passionate Friends" is a fine example of that art.
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on 28 January 2012
Extremely interesting and absorbing drama that generates tension and suspense about what actions the intelligent, civilized, international banker Claude Raines will take as clues filter in about the restlessness of his younger wife. Some of the most effective scenes are those of smouldering volcano Raines, particularly a delicious scene where Raines is on the patio in Swtzerland dictating a high level letter about investment risks while fiddling with a pair of new binoculars. His dictation trails off as he intermittently praises the amazing detail the binoculars provide and sweeps them in ever widening arcs across the lake. Then he returns to the dictation, puts the glasses down, can't resist picking them up again, resuming and interrupting the dictation repeatedly while we squirm in our seats knowing that any second the binoculars will alight on Ann Todd and Trevor Howard returning by motorboat from an innocent, clandestine, all day cable car ride up the Swiss mountain, whiich Raines will misinterpret. The scene is exquisitely handled in all respects, with superb dissection of every conceivable possibility for tension and suspense building. This scene is an extremely accomplished achievement of cinema accomplishment, with an intricate unfolding of micro-events that are unforgettable, employing just a dictation setting at a table on a patio, the efficient secretary taking shorthand and a pair of binoculars. This is CINEMA first and foremost, with David Lean not tempted to reduce it to a standard adultery-suspicion formula and all actors rise to this higher purpose. There are some clumsy flashbacks and the sound is so faint one needs headphones to reduce listening strain, but the print is of pristine quality and, overall, it's a rare treat. There are easy to read subtitles to compensate for the faint sound.
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on 9 January 2009
Not necessarily a David Lean fan, but strangely I tend to find all his films intriguing.
The Passionate friends is like the negative exposure of all time classic, Brief Encounter. In which the affair is requited rather than unrequited....if requited is the word? But rather than being a terrible act of betrayal, Lean's gift as a storyteller engenders empathy towards the character.
Ann Todd's turn opposite the ever reliable Trevor Howard every bit as effective and affecting as that of Celia Johnson in the previously mentioned masterpiece.
The emotional intensity of the final scene, surpasses Brief Encounter in that respect.
This film is a work of genius.
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Claude Rains gives a superb performance in this lesser known of David Lean's films - in parts chilling and cruel; at times forlorn and abandoned; and then passionate. I like him in "Casablanca" but he is marvellous in this. By contrast I find Trevor Howard a little flat in this film (certainly compared to "Brief Encounter" and "The Third Man"). Ann Todd is magnetic on screen (more compelling than Celia Johnson I feel). "Brief Encounter" and "The Passionate Friends" were made only a few years apart and work well watched together. Alhough I think the story in this film is less strong than "Brief Encounter" - scenery apart - this film wins out largely on the strength of the performances of Ann Todd and Claude Rains.
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on 11 November 2011
I saw this film some years ago and could not really remember much about it,on watching it again I enjoyed it,I thought I was not going to, as the first 20 minutes is a little boring,but I did get into it,it was acted beautifully by Ann todd,Claude Rains And Trevor Howard although I dont consider It as good as Brief Encounter Its certainly a good story and worth watching.
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on 2 April 2011
On her way to Switzerland for a holiday, a married woman (Ann Todd) recollects a New Year's Eve party nine years earlier when she rekindled a romance with her former lover (Trevor Howard). Her husband (Claude Rains) forgives her indiscretion but forbids her to ever see him again. So, guess who she meets in Switzerland? Based on the novel by H.G. Wells, this is one of David Lean's romance films of which BRIEF ENCOUNTER and SUMMERTIME are better known but this one fits in snugly in between. It's not as satisfying predominantly because the central character of the wife is rather selfish and narcissistic. She loves Howard in a way she doesn't love her husband but she loves the money and security of the lifestyle Rains can provide her with. Meanwhile, she's only giving the two men in her life only half of herself and frankly, both men deserve better. Fortunately, Todd (PARADINE CASE) is quite good here and does a more than credible job of displaying the contradictory mental state of her character. Guy Green did the cinematography with some lovely French mountains and lakes standing in for Switzerland and Richard Addinsell did the overactive score. With Wilfrid Hyde-White.

The ITV DVD from England is a superb B&W transfer.
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on 10 December 2011
A wonderful job on the restoration, such a sham they did not check the sound quality as well, at times it is very hard to hear what is being said! It was still good to see the film again and to see those yesterday STARS shining.
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on 19 September 2013
This film was more than I expected in terms of direction. The plot of the story is cleverly written and the acting was superb! If they do decide to make a remake of this film, it will have to consist of accomplished actors and actresses, as the action of each player is very subtle. There is a certain element of suspense in the film, especially when Ann Todd's character is found out, by her husband, (Claude Rains) that she is having an affair with another man, and both the wife and her lover are eventually caught out and confronted by the husband. Also, after many years later, when the wife and her previous lover finally, unexpectedly, see each other again on a holiday trip and the husband eventually finds out that again they were spending time with each other.....It may sound simple, but the direction of just those two scenes where exceptional.... Highly recommened!! Buy, watch and enjoy!!!!
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on 23 March 2015
It's okay..... I expected it to be a bit dated, but just can't get my head around how badly men treated women in those days - I mean in ordinary general life, as though they are objects. I won't say more because I don't want to spoil it for anyone just buying it..... but having watched it once and not been particularly moved by it, the dvd is now going to my local charity shop.
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on 25 April 2012
A fine film again from director David Lean, from the same year as his impressive "Madeleine" : clearly, he was as accomplished in this period as he ever had been. As in so many black and white films of this time, the portrayal of the characters is faultless, the plot is tight, without any slack, and, in this case (in view of the social milieu in which the action is played out)there is elegance aplenty in the settings and in the clothes worn, as well as well-spoken English throughout, by people obviously with good social graces and (in varying degrees) either downright rich or at least in comfortable circumstances. There is a fair amount of tension at times as the story unfolds, as one might expect in a film from this director.
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