Brief Encounter (1945) Poster


According to several Billy Wilder biographies, the scene in this film where Alec tries to use a friend's apartment in order to be alone with Laura inspired Wilder to write The Apartment (1960).
Carnforth station was chosen partly because it was so far from the South East of England that it would receive sufficient warning of an air-raid attack that there would be time to turn out the filming lights to comply with wartime blackout restrictions.
On initial release, the film was banned by the strict censorship board in Ireland on the grounds that it portrayed an adulterer in a sympathetic light.
Laura borrows books from the Boots Lending Library. Such Lending Libraries were an offshoot of Boots Pharmacies. Boots is a major pharmacy chain in the UK. It was founded in 1849 and still exists, although in a much different, more diversified form. The Lending Libraries were started in 1898.
The first choice for the Doctor Alec Harvey had been Roger Livesey, but when David Lean and Anthony Havelock-Allan saw Trevor Howard, in a rough cut of Johnny in the Clouds (1945) they decided to offer the part to Trevor Howard, who at that time was an unknown actor, who had been invalided out of the army.
David Lean, Anthony Havelock-Allan, Ronald Neame and Noel Coward all wanted Celia Johnson to play the part of Laura Jesson. Johnson hated making films, but after Coward read the part to her in October 1944, she knew that she had to play that part.
This movie was David Lean's first Oscar nomination as director.
Laura borrows books by Kate O'Brien. Kate O'Brien (1897 - 1974), was an Irish novelist and playwright.
Alec's age is never stated, though he refers to himself as middle-aged and looks it. In fact Trevor Howard would only have been 31/32 at the time of filming.
Use of the Second Piano Concerto by Sergei Rachmaninoff was chosen for the film's soundtrack by Noel Coward.
The two films that Laura and Alec choose between, 'The Loves of Cardinal Richelieu' and 'Love in the Mist', are fictional.
The film trailer they see is for 'Flames of Passion', a fictional film, supposedly based on a novel, 'Gentle Summer' by Alice Porter Stoughey, both fictional.
On her first trip to Milford after meeting Dr. Harvey, Laura walks past a bookstore window. On display are a range of books published in 1944/45, including "Something in my Heart" by Walter Greenwood, "A Showman Goes East" by Carroll Levis, "The End of the Mildew Gang" by S. Fowler Wright, "Capri Moon" by Kelman Dalgety Frost, "Winter's Tales" by Karen Blixen, "Triple Mirror" by Kathleen Wallace, "Once a Jolly Swagman" by Montagu Slater, and "Grand Barrage" by Gun Buster (aka John Charles Austin).
Old Arabic Love Poem on Persian Rug: when Laura comes to see Alec at his friend's flat, there is a Middle Eastern rug hung on the wall. The style of the rug itself confirms it is Persian, however, the beautiful calligraphy is Arabic. It is from a 9th century love poem by the Arab poet Ali Bin Salwa Al-qusari. it reads from right-hand corner of the rug and going anti-clockwise: The Utterance of Passion - In My Eye - Speaks To You.
The screenplay was adapted and based on Noel Coward's 1935 short one-act (half-hour) stage play "Still Life". It was expanded from five short scenes in a train station (the refreshment tea room of Milford Junction Station) to include action in other settings (Laura's house, the apartment of the Dr.Harvey's friend, restaurants, parks, train compartments, shops, a car, a boating lake and at the cinema),
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The poem that Fred asks Laura's assistance with is by John Keats, "When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be", the actual quote being 'When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face, Huge cloudy symbols of a high Romance ....'.
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The original Broadway production was presented as the one act play "Still Life" as part of the repertory presentation "Tonight at 8:30" that opened at the National Theatre on November 24, 1936 and ran for 118 performances with a cast that included Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence.
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Laura and Alec have lunch at the Kardomah. This was a real chain of coffee houses throughout England a rival to the more ubiquitous Lyon's Corner Houses.
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