Brief Encounter (1945)

“Thank you for coming back to me.” Two married strangers – a bored middle-class housewife, Laura Jesson (Celia Johnson) and an idealistic doctor, Alec Harvey (Trevor Howard) – meet at a London train station and embark on a brief, doomed fling in this romantic classic from David Lean (Great Expectations) that was based on Noel Coward’s 1936 one-act play, Still Life. Laura provides the first-person narration in the form of a confession and delivers some classic lines like “It’s awfully easy to lie when you know that you’re trusted implicitly. So very easy, and so very degrading.” The film reminded me of the repressed romance in The Remains of the Day (1993). Supporting cast includes Stanley Holloway, Joyce Carey, Cyril Raymond (as Laura’s dull husband “Fred”), Everley Gregg and Valentine Dyall. The soundtrack features Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. The scene where Laura and Alec meet (rather awkwardly) at his friend’s apartment reportedly inspired Billy Wilder to write The Apartment (1960).

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