Barbara Vining (Glynis Johns) is seventeen-years-old and living with her family in a 1950s English town. Her father, Henry (Walter Fitzgerald), is a newspaper journalist and mother, Vi (Megs Jenkins), a homemaker; her maiden aunt, Evelyn (Pamela Brown) also lives in their home. Barbara attends a co-educational 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 (Leo Genn), 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 (Gene Tierney). Barbara disappears after a tutoring session at the Barlow home and is "in absentia" for three days. During that time, Stephen Barlow is asked to resign and nearly cautioned by the police, as rumors have run amok throughout the town. Many people, including his wife, are uncertain regarding what to think. Was it simply a case of unrequited love or did ...Written by
It's all about love, the deadliest thing in the world, constantly causing suicides and billions of fatal heartbreaks. Here is another slant on this timeless eternal predicament - the most impossible thinkable love affair on only one side by a student of her teacher, and he doesn't even know it. Her crush leads to typically womanish oversensitive caprices, which in their turn cause avalanches of complications, totally unintended, of course, - but the most precarious thing about love is that it is always irresponsible when it is true. The victims simply can't be held responsible for their feelings or their consequences. Pamela Brown plays the opposite case - she has killed her feelings, she sees everything perfectly coldly, like a scientist dissecting or using live animals in a laboratory, she thinks she knows and controls everything and sees everything clearly, but she knows nothing, because she feels nothing. Having killed her love, she is dead, and if she steps in to meddle in a love case, she can only cause further damage.
It's a drama of extremely high tension, almost like one of the most unendurable thrillers by Hitchcock, and it is marvellously filmed at that, with William Alwyn's tremendous music, the innovative cinematography making the dramatic cascades play an important part as an ominous accompaniment to the high tension drama. Glynis Johns as a seventeen year old girl is just that and couldn't be one year older - this must be one of her best performances, although they are so many. And Gene Tierney is more beautiful than ever as the ideal wife - of Leo Genn, always a marvel of a safe character on screen, especially memorable as the doctor in "The Snakepit". This is truly a gem of highest psychological and human calibre, and it's perfectly natural if you want to cry your eyes out.
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