For me, it has to be, without a question of a doubt, Brief Encounter. This movie isn’t even a modern one. It was released in 1945 and directed by David Lean, starring fine English actors, Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard.
Laura Jessen, a married woman, takes a trip into Milford every Thursday. She comes from a middle-class background and on this particular day, shops then goes to the movies. It appears to be her weekly treat.
One Thursday, as she is waiting for her train [it was steam back then of course], a piece of grit blows into her eye and she encounters the debonair doctor, Alec Harvey, who kindly removes it for her.
She thinks no more of their encounter, but literally bumps into him again on one of her trips when he shares her table at a restaurant. They end up going to the cinema together and their romance flourishes.
She knows this is wrong and both of them are torn.
It’s not a happy ending for either of them really, but on the other hand, they end up doing the right thing for the sake of their respective families.
I love this movie as it’s so atmospheric. The film was shot during the winter months when the days were short and the nights were long. Images like the couple’s shadow [as they are in a passionate clinch] reflected on the brick walls of the underground tunnels leading to the station and the steam from the trains provides a setting that becomes a character in the movie itself.
The viewer can practically sense the moment Laura falls for Alec when they are chatting at the station cafe about his research work. The way she searches his face with her eyes.
There is no sex in this film, although it almost happens when he takes her back to his friend’s apartment, but they are disturbed. It is then, Laura becomes aware of the sordiness, not of their love, but of the postion they are both in sneaking around.
I never get fed up of this film, I’ve watched it many times and still see something new in it each time.
View movie trailer here:
View clip from Brief Encounter here [spoiler warning — contains end of film] :
So, the question I’m asking is, what’s your favourite romance movie and why?
Return to Winter and It Happened One Summer, coming soon to The Wild Rose Press