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Personal Affair (1953) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • Barbara Vining is 17 years old and living with her family in a 1950s postwar English village. Her father, Henry, is a newspaper journalist and mother, Vi, a homemaker; her maiden aunt, Evelyn also lives in their home. Barbara attends a coeducational comprehensive school. And, for the first time in her life, Barbara is in love. The object of her affection is a sensitive and handsome gentleman, Stephen Barlow, who teaches Latin to the graduating class at her school. Barlow is an Englishman, married to a beautiful, but very insecure and lonely American lady, Kay. Barbara disappears after a tutoring session at the Barlow home and is "in absentia" for three days. During that time, Barlow is asked to resign and nearly cautioned by the police, as rumors have run amok throughout the village. Many people, including his wife, are uncertain regarding what to think. Was it simply a case of unrequited love or did Stephen Barlow have a torrid affair with young Barbara? Is she dead by her own hand, is she murdered or has she simply disappeared? When three days elapse, Barbara appears and many questions are answered. But, in the tradition of British film, many more questions remain.

  • Barbara Vining, a teen-age girl in a small English town falls in love with her teacher Stephen Barlow, who has no interest in her other than as a pupil and has done nothing to encourage her. When his wife, Kay Barlow confronts her, Barbara runs off. Stephen follows her to try and explain to her how hopeless the situation is. When she doesn't return home, the gossip and rumors begin. Barbara's father, an intelligent man is torn between his parental love and his basic wisdom, and her aunt, a neurotic old maid who also had a hopeless love affair years before, appears pleased with the situation. Barlow is accused of many lurid crimes, despite the lack of any evidence, and his marriage and career are nearly ruined until Barbara returns three days later and clears him.


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