Browning Version

Browning Version

Director: Anthony Asquith

Cast: Anthony Asquith, Michael Redgrave, Jean Kent, Nigel Patrick

     
 

Michael Redgrave gives his greatest performance as Andrew Crocker-Harris, a boarding-school teacher who realizes that his life may be a failure, in this powerful adaptation of Terence Rattigan's play with a screenplay by Rattigan himself. Poor health forces Crocker-Harris to give up his teaching position after years of thankless service and scorn from his students and… See more details below

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Overview

Michael Redgrave gives his greatest performance as Andrew Crocker-Harris, a boarding-school teacher who realizes that his life may be a failure, in this powerful adaptation of Terence Rattigan's play with a screenplay by Rattigan himself. Poor health forces Crocker-Harris to give up his teaching position after years of thankless service and scorn from his students and colleagues. His marriage to Millie (Jean Kent) is also in free fall, as his wife is openly having an affair with the school's chemistry teacher, Hunter (Nigel Patrick). The sensitivity of one student (Brian Smith) breaks through Crocker-Harris's reserved British exterior, but it takes the final departure of his wife, right before the school's graduation exercises, to wake him up once and for all. He discards his prepared speech and speaks openly to the assembled students, delivering a moving apology for having failed them as their teacher. The film's rich montage of incident and character detail builds to intense emotional heights that make this version of The Browning Version a classic.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The Browning Version is an emotionally wrenching exploration of a sad and defeated failure, but which ultimately (and surprisingly) becomes uplifting through the catharsis it evokes. Its stage origins are transparent; indeed, director Anthony Asquith almost goes out of his way to emphasize those origins, and with good reason. This is the story of a stuffy, closed-off, empty man whose classroom is a claustrophobic trap for his students; Asquith knows that by opening up the film as little as possible, he can drive home the sterility and artifice of the man and the trapped feeling he inspires in others. But Asquith doesn't allow the film itself to become stodgy; Desmond Dickinson's clever cinematography makes good use of the closed-in locations, finding variety and character without distracting from the claustrophobia. Asquith's attention to the text and the actors also pays off with sterling performances from all involved, but with a truly startling and riveting turn from Michael Redgrave in the lead. Indeed, Redgrave virtually is the film; his work here is nothing short of sensational, grabbing the viewer with a quiet intensity that is all the more remarkable considering that the character's deep, inner passion is buried so far deep inside him. There are layers upon layers upon layers in Redgrave's Crocker-Harris, one of the richest performances put upon the screen. There is so much going on with Redgrave that even the simplest of scenes has shades of hidden meaning. Redgrave aside, Browning is an excellent film; with Redgrave, it's an extraordinary one.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/28/2005
UPC:
0037429202227
Original Release:
1951
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
1:29:00
Sales rank:
2,311

Special Features

New, restored high-definition Digital transfer; Audio commentary by film historian Bruce Eder; Exclusive interview with Mike Figgis, director of the 1994 remake; Archival interview with star Michael Redgrave from 1958; Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing; Plus: A new essay by critic Geoffrey Macnab

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Michael Redgrave Andrew Crocker-Harris
Jean Kent Millie Crocker-Harris
Nigel Patrick Frank Hunter
Wilfrid Hyde-White Frobisher
Ronald Howard Gilbert
Brian Smith Taplow
Bill Travers Fletcher
Ivan Samson Lord Baxter
Josephine Middleton Mrs. Frobisher
Peter Jones Carstairs
Sarah Lawson Betty Carstairs
Scott Harold Rev. Williamson
Judith Furse Mrs. Williamson

Technical Credits
Anthony Asquith Director
Teddy Baird Producer
John Dennis Sound/Sound Designer
John Dennis Sound/Sound Designer
Desmond Dickinson Cinematographer
Carmen Dillon Art Director
John Guthridge Editor
W.T. Partleton Makeup
George Pollock Asst. Director
Terence Rattigan Screenwriter

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Logos/Opening Credits [1:32]
2. "Merely Morning Prayers" [4:49]
3. The Upper Fifth [3:57]
4. "Sorry for the Crock?" [6:05]
5. Human Nature [3:55]
6. Taplow's Gift for Mimicry [3:27]
7. Mrs. Crocker-Harris [5:45]
8. "The Husband You've Just Slain" [8:01]
9. "A Stroll Round the Grounds" [9:56]
10. The Himmler of the Lower Fifth [6:59]
11. The Browning Version [:02]
12. "The Artful Little Beast" [7:12]
13. Farewell Dinner, With Fireworks [7:41]
14. Silent Good-Bye [9:00]
15. "I Am Sorry" [2:47]
16. "Like a Modern Play" [6:35]
17. Color Bars [2:12]
1. Introduction [1:32]
2. Anthony Asquith [4:49]
3. Terence Rattigan [3:57]
4. Redgrave's Entrance [6:05]
5. Casting Redgrave [3:55]
6. Catching Up With the Play [3:27]
7. Rattigan's Background [5:45]
8. Rattigan's Career/Jean Kent [8:01]
9. Wilfred Hyde White [9:56]
10. The Use of Agamemmon [6:59]
11. Brian Smith, Nigel Patrick [:02]
12. Michael Redgrave [7:12]
13. A Historical Coincidence [7:41]
14. Asquith's Career, Continued [9:00]
15. Rattigan's Career, Continued [2:47]
16. A Hopeful Ending [6:35]
17. Color Bars [2:12]

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