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The End of the Affair (1955)

In wartorn London Maurice Bendrix falls in love with neighbor Sarah Miles. They begin an illicit romance behind Sarah's husband's back. While war does not last forever, neither does love in... See full summary »

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(from the novel by), (screenplay) (as Lenore Coffee)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
...
...
Stephen Murray ...
Charles Goldner ...
Nora Swinburne ...
Mrs. Bertram
Frederick Leister ...
Dr. Collingwood
Mary Williams ...
O'Donovan Shiell ...
Doctor
Elsie Wagstaff ...
Christopher Warbey ...
Nan Munro ...
Mrs. Tomkins
Joyce Carey ...
Miss Palmer
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Storyline

In wartorn London Maurice Bendrix falls in love with neighbor Sarah Miles. They begin an illicit romance behind Sarah's husband's back. While war does not last forever, neither does love in this existentialist tale. Written by Robert Bole <rjbmbv@teleport.com>

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Drama | Romance

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Release Date:

May 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Ende einer Affaire  »

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(RCA Sound Recording)

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1.85 : 1
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Trivia

Shot June 29-September 10 1954, copyright 1954. See more »

Goofs

Maurice encounters Henry in the street. It is raining and their raincoats are completely wet. However, when they appears indoors, showed from the front, their raincoats are dry. See more »

Quotes

Sarah Miles: [to Father Compton] ... I know that it sounds absurd now, but I thought I'd prayed him alive. That *is* absurd, isn't it?... But people don't come alive; when they're dead, they're dead as mutton. Well, at any rate, I prayed, I... I made that stupid promise, and then he... he walked into the room. So it was all a mistake...
Sarah Miles: If there is a god, then he put the thought of that prayer in my mind, and I hate him for it.
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Connections

Referenced in Grosse Pointe: The End of the Affair (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

Something Surprising From 1955.
8 January 2007 | by (New York, N.Y.) – See all my reviews

This is an astonishing artifact from 1955 -- astonishing because it is so grownup and sophisticated in its outlook, and because it grapples with moral complexities and ambiguities that English language films of this period never went near. An adulterous affair begun with a certain amount of cynicism on both sides grows into a true and passionate love affair, which in turn raises issues of guilt, trust, duty, self-denial and religious belief. As a story, it holds our interest and causes us to wonder where it will end. As a parable and philosophical meditation on belief and its role in love and contemporary life, it is both stimulating and unexpectedly moving.

That a novel as layered and difficult was attempted with major stars at this time is surprising enough. That THE END OF THE AFFAIR succeeds on so many levels seems miraculous, especially in the context of most mainstream film product of the mid-'50s.

Van Johnson is not as expressive or deep an actor as the excellent Deborah Kerr and Peter Cushing (and John Mills, Michael Goodliffe and Nora Swinburne) yet his character's relaxed masculinity, reluctant anguish and saturnine, rather malicious jealousy are well-conveyed, and he manages to be a presence you remain interested in. As Greene's Mary Magdalene character, the woman in whom the sacred and profane are mingled, Kerr is terrific in a complex role that is an interesting inversion of her promiscuous, childless woman in the far more famous and popular FROM HERE TO ETERNITY of just two years before. ETERNITY, done for Columbia, the same studio that released this, was far more shallow and conventional in the way it dealt with Kerr's Karen Holmes and her redemption. Just as shallow (and evasive) was TEA AND SYMPATHY, which Kerr did after this, and which received far more fame and attention than was merited.

This 1955 version of THE END OF THE AFFAIR deserves to be much better known and remembered, and all concerned deserve belated kudos for attempting such a provocative film in the midst of Hollywood's synthetic movies of the period. I saw this after recording it on TCM, and would like to see it scheduled in prime time, to perhaps begin to get the wider audience it deserves and to hear commentary from moderator Robert Osborn (for that matter, he ought to do one hour interviews with both Kerr and Johnson while they are still around).

Let the rediscovery and rehabilitation of this good film begin . . .


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