76, 603-606 David Lean Directs Noël Coward

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Sloper
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 10:06 pm

Re: 76, 603-606 David Lean Directs Noël Coward

#26 Post by Sloper » Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:17 am

Celia Johnson was also very good as the Countess of Rousillon in the BBC production of All's Well That Ends Well, which was really a rather good film in its own right. Some beautiful firelit scenes between her and Angela Down (who played Helena).

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nyasa
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:05 am
Location: UK

Re: 76, 603-606 David Lean Directs Noël Coward

#27 Post by nyasa » Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:05 am

Just been watching Brief Encounter with Bruce Eder's (rather dry) commentary. I can't vouch for all of his facts, but I can certainy point to one glaring error. he says that Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson were reunited playing an old couple in the TV movie Christmas Eve. Not so. The TV movie he was thinking off was Staying On, in which they portrayed an English couple who had remained in India after the end of the British Raj.

It's a terrific little film, shot on location, and I would have thought Bruce Eder would have taken the trouble to find it before recording his B.E. commentary. It almost serves as a what-might-have been sequel - had Celia Johnson's character gone with Trevor Howard to the colonies.

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manicsounds
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:58 pm
Location: Tokyo, Japan

Re: 76, 603-606 David Lean Directs Noël Coward

#28 Post by manicsounds » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:59 pm

I think the commentary was recorded in the days before Internet pre-checking was prevalent. Maybe he just didn't have access to the TV movie. Is it available anywhere on DVD now?


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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 76, 603-606 David Lean Directs Noël Coward

#30 Post by knives » Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:22 am

This Happy Breed has a script that feels like a great satire on British behavior between the wars, but Lean seems incapable of playing this for the poison pill it is shifting the script, sometimes bizarrely, into a drama. As a drama it is okay mostly thanks to the two central performances. Newton plays the drama well (though flops in some scenes like the kissing one early on), but it is Johnson who seems to fully understand the satire and plays that perfectly despite Lean's austere presentation. The end result is an okay movie, that could have been an amazing pill in the hands of someone like Alberto Cavalcanti.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: 603 David Lean Directs Noël Coward

#31 Post by knives » Sat Oct 06, 2018 9:36 pm

matrixschmatrix wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:52 pm
Watched Blithe Spirit last night, and it left sort of a bad taste in my mouth- the whole thing seemed sort of unpleasantly misogynistic, with both wives' whole existence revolving around nagging and irritating the Rex Harrison character. From the extras, it sounded as though in the stage version of the play the Harrison character was more of a slumping, middle aged dullard- which might have made the thing feel more balanced, and more of an all around farce- but casting the delightful Harrison makes the whole thing feel like a tract about how horrible wives are.

There are some nice moments- the repartee is obviously witty, the whole seance sequence is fun, and the oddly Stephen Fry looking medium in general is a nice break from the bad domestic drama- and it's not painful to watch or anything, but it looks like a bad Lockhorns strip compared to the delicate handling of Brief Encounter, much less Lean's Dickens adaptations.
In contra I've found this the most engaging and best film in the set. Maybe it is because I've been reading the similarly misogynistic Forbidden Colors by Mishima, but I took this as a gay attack on the idea of heterosexuality and the idea of staying with one partner for life (would make a great double feature with the similarly themed Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down). My understanding of what the ending of the play is only makes that more clear. That also allows for the charm of Harrison to work in the film's favour though as already said in the thread there's an obnoxious edge to him that prevents him from being a rootable person (the character is also comically wishy-washy).

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