Life on a British bomber base, and the surrounding towns, from the opening days of the Battle of Britain, to the arrival of the Americans, who join in the bomber offensive. The film centres... See full summary »
Major Jock Sinclair has been in this Highland regiment since he joined as a boy piper. During the Second World War, as Second-in-Command, he was made acting Commanding Officer. Now the ... See full summary »
Flashback story of an escape from the lonely, high-security Dartmoor Prison. A jealous barber's assistant is enraged by the attentions that his manicurist girlfriend pays to a customer. He ... See full summary »
Hans Adalbert Schlettow,
At a fashionable dinner party in Hong Kong a naval officer is coaxed into revealing details of a dream in which eight persons take off from Bangkok in a Dakota bound for Tokyo and crash in ... See full summary »
Andrew Crocker-Harris, a classic teacher in a British school, is a man hounded by a heart ailment, and by his wife's disloyalty, who is pursuing a science teacher. He has lost his feeling for the emotions of others and his understanding of the boys he is there to teach. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Director Anthony Asquith's father was Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith, who - as Home Secretary - signed the warrant to arrest Oscar Wilde. It was Wilde's trial and subsequent imprisonment that sent a chill over England's gay and creative community for the next sixty years. When playwright/screenwriter Terrence Rattigan met Asquith for the first time, he recalled being profoundly aware of who the director's father was. Rattigan had the misfortune to come of age as a gay man in the 1930s, when homosexual relationships between consenting males in England was still a prosecutable offense with jail sentences of up to two years at hard labor. Even with a great deal of self-censorship, critics and audiences found the hints of homosexuality in Rattigan's first play ("First Episode") shocking. Any homo-erotic reference in a play's subject material was enough to halt its production by the Lord Chamberlain of England. The best Rattigan could do (until well into the 1960s) was to veil his own sensibilities and create dramas critiquing the heterosexual norms of his day. In Crocker-Harris's after-dinner monologue to Hunter, the reference to "two kinds of love" is as close as the playwright ever comes to naming the love that dare not speak it's name, even in 1951 England. See more »
I was lent a videocassette of it (taped from the TV) by a friend who urged me to watch it. "But you must watch it alone", they stipulated.
I am not sure whether my friend's act was one of great kindness or great cruelty. I do know that watching the film was extremely harrowing and upsetting.
It is difficult to convey quite what is so troubling and disturbing about this film without giving the plot away, but I was unprepared, among other things, for the frankness about sexual matters in such an old film (especially the frankness regarding female sexuality). Given that Rattigan was himself a homosexual (albeit, in a pre-Wolfenden age, a closeted one), it is possible (indeed, possibly too easy) to perceive a homosexual subtext in the film, should one choose to. But it is not necessary.
At first I was half expecting something sentimental in the "Goodbye, Mr Chips" vein (and this is, indeed, ironically referred to in "The Browning Version"), but this film is no facile tear-jerker. I did not read the other IMDb reviews before watching the film, and I was unprepared for the shock to my system that this amazing film has delivered.
I am not sure that I can unreservedly recommend the film, if only because it is so deeply unsettling and emotionally raw. A film set in an English public school of the early 1950s suggests a world of emotions reined-in and denied. But the terrible crises that occur in "The Browning Version" expose real emotions in a way that, even now, is rare.
This film urgently needs to be made available on DVD. For those who can withstand the intensity of its onslaught, it constitutes a salutary emotional cleansing.
This is a beautiful, and perennially relevant film.
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