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The End of the Affair (1955)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | May 1955 (USA)
In war-torn London, Maurice Bendrix (Van Johnson) falls in love with neighbor Sarah Miles Deborah Kerr). They begin an illicit romance behind Sarah's husband's back. While war does not last... See full summary »

Director:

Edward Dmytryk

Writers:

Graham Greene (from the novel by), Lenore J. Coffee (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:
Deborah Kerr ... Sarah Miles
Van Johnson ... Maurice Bendrix
John Mills ... Albert Parkis
Peter Cushing ... Henry Miles
Michael Goodliffe ... Smythe
Stephen Murray ... Father Crompton
Charles Goldner Charles Goldner ... Savage
Nora Swinburne ... Mrs. Bertram
Frederick Leister Frederick Leister ... Dr. Collingwood
Mary Williams Mary Williams ... Maid
Laurence Shiel Laurence Shiel ... Doctor (as O'Donovan Shiell)
Elsie Wagstaff ... Bendrix Landlady
Christopher Warbey Christopher Warbey ... Lancelot Parkis
Nan Munro Nan Munro ... Mrs. Tomkins
Joyce Carey ... Miss Palmer
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Storyline

In war-torn London, Maurice Bendrix (Van Johnson) falls in love with neighbor Sarah Miles Deborah Kerr). 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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

May 1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Ende einer Affaire See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Coronado Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gregory Peck was offered the lead. See more »

Goofs

In Sarah's journal, the date of her breakup with Maurice - and the first V-1 flying bomb attack on London - is shown as June 18, 1944. The actual date of the first V-1 attack on London was June 13, 1944. 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.
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

Talky and understated passion but still a good adaptation of the book
26 October 2003 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

An American writer meets the wife of a civil service acquaintance and quickly starts an affair with her. However Maurice is plagued with feelings of guilt and jealousy against Henry having Sarah, and bitterness that Sarah is being deceitful to her husband and perhaps, him too. After a bombing falls near their love nest, Sarah leaves and Maurice assumes that she had wished him dead. When Henry confides in him about his wife's possible infidelity, Maurice poses as her husband and hires a private detective to follow her and find out what she's doing.

I have not seen the remake but was quite interested to see how a 1950's movie would manage to depict the illicit affair between Maurice and Sarah without breaking every moral code of the day. The answer is – with lots of talking. The film is significantly shorter than the modern version and had less controversy (or at least, does now) but it still manages to bring things out. The plot is pretty good but relies very heavily on the extended flashback/journal sequence to keep things going. The talk heavy feel is a little tiring but does work well – the characters' emotions are brought out well without profanity or nudity.

I don't think Johnson fitted the role that well but he was still good. His inner bitterness and guilt came out well at points and he brings his complex character out well. Kerr is also good although her role is less difficult. She does have to carry the whole journal sequence near the end and she doesn't let the film dip. Cushing only has a few scenes but he is very good. He gives an English gent performance but eventually you can see the cracks as he tries to hold his feelings together.

Overall this is a solid adaptation of the book that manages to bring out the subject matter without the sexual excess of the modern version. While it is a little heavy on dialogue at times, the emotions come out with all the stilted control of the period and it works quite well as a subversive melodrama.


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