7.8/10
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9 user 4 critic

An Englishman Abroad (1983)

Actress Coral Browne travels to Moscow, and meets a mysterious Englishman. Turns out he's the notorious spy, Guy Burgess. Based on a true story, with Ms. Browne playing herself.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Coral Browne ...
...
Claudius
...
Rosencrantz
...
Guildenstern
Mark Wing-Davey ...
Hamlet
...
Toby
...
Giles
Judy Gridley ...
Tessa
Denys Hawthorne ...
Tailor
...
Pyjama Shop Manager
...
Shoe Shop Assistant
Alexei Jawdokimov ...
Tolya
...
The Boy
Molly Veness ...
Mrs. Burgess
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Storyline

Actress Coral Browne travels to Moscow, and meets a mysterious Englishman. Turns out he's the notorious spy, Guy Burgess. Based on a true story, with Ms. Browne playing herself. Written by David Spalding <http://korova.com/film>

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Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

2 September 1984 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Shakespeare Memorial Theatre's tour of Leningrad (12-21 December 1958) and Moscow (24 December- 5 January 1959) was the first time a major British theatre company had gone to the Soviet Union. As well as Coral Browne as Gertrude, the production featured Michael Redgrave as Hamlet, Dorothy Tutin as Ophelia and Mark Dignam as Claudius (the Charles Gray character). When Burgess makes a remark about Laertes' tights, he is referring to a young Edward Woodward. Other members of the cast included Julian Glover, Anthony Nicholls, Eileen Atkins, Ian Holm and Edward De Souza. See more »

Goofs

When Coral, in Burgess' flat, says 'The theatre's in a dreadful state', her lips are out of sync. See more »

Quotes

Coral: You steal my soap, you steal my cigarettes, you even stole my face powder.
Guy Burgess: I know. One should have asked. One is such a coward.
See more »

Crazy Credits

[At end of opening credits] "Although some incidents are imaginary... this is a true story. It happened to Coral Browne in 1958." See more »

Connections

Featured in Zomergasten: Episode #6.2 (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

 
So much has never been said so powerfully and succinctly.
22 April 2011 | by See all my reviews

An Englishman Abroad is, like The Third Man, one of those rarest of moments in cinema in which everything just goes right, with all from the script to the direction and performances falling into the perfect hands. Coral Browne's recognition that her experiences during (and following) a theatrical tour of Russia, meeting Guy Burgess, were worth making a grand statement on life about was as inspired as the script she made of this. in a running time of just over an hour, exceptional performances by Browne herself and the late lamented Alan Bates, directed by none less than John Schlesinger, make a comprehensive statement about loyalty, betrayal, the cynicism and amorality of all governments across the political spectrum, and personal sacrifice in the cause of what one believes right. And despite the bleakness with which the British government and establishment are duly portrayed, a wonderful contrast is drawn towards the end between truly British democratic values, as voiced by an old British bespoke shoemaker (and reminiscent of the civil service mandarin's words in the car at the end of the also brilliant A Very British Coup), and the foreign gentlemen's outfitter who merely apes Britishness by pandering to British aristocracy ("By Appointment to Her Majesty"). The cold war settings are very atmospheric, and Bate's role as a man who has sacrificed all the privilege he was born into for the sake of something he believed in paradoxically fits that British value too. His performance as a British establishment in-man of refined tastes, trying to stay sane in the utter impoverishment, loneliness and distrust of his new Soviet circumstance, is profoundly moving even without a hint of self pity or indulgence. And the scene at the end where he, a gay and atheist, attends the Orthodox service for the profound aesthetic experience that it has on him, represents - in Bates' peerless hands - an unforgettable portrayal of profound human emotion. Had Schlesinger and Browne padded this film out by a half to reach a respectable feature length, it would not be so obscure but known as one of the elite films of all time.


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