By the Book
The Passionate Friends
Directed by David Lean • 1949 • United Kingdom
Starring Ann Todd, Trevor Howard, Claude Rains
Four years after David Lean crafted what may be the screen’s most piercing examination of extramarital romance with BRIEF ENCOUNTER, he returned to a similar subject in this exquisite tale of a woman torn between the stability of marriage and the thrill of an affair. Adapted from a novel by H. G. Wells, THE PASSIONATE FRIENDS follows Mary Justin (Ann Todd), who years ago gave up romance with Steven Stratton (Trevor Howard) for a comfortable but routine marriage to Howard (Claude Rains in one of his finest performances). When Mary unexpectedly meets Steven again while on vacation in the Swiss Alps, she finds herself forced to confront her unresolved feelings for the man she still loves.
Up Next in By the Book
Directed by Akira Kurosawa • 1951 • Japan
In post-World War II Japan, childlike veteran Kinji suffers from post-traumatic stress-induced seizures, and, after treatment at a mental health institution in Okinawa, he returns to his hometown. There he meets and becomes romantically caught up with tw...
The Life of Oharu
Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi • 1952 • Japan
Starring Kinuyo Tanaka, Toshiro Mifune, Masao Shimizu
A peerless chronicler of the soul who specialized in supremely emotional, visually exquisite films about the circumstances of women in Japanese society, Kenji Mizoguchi had already been directing mov...
Directed by Luis Buñuel • 1954 • United States, Mexico
Starring Dan O’Herlihy
Master director Luis Buñuel’s first color film (and first of only two he made in English) is a fascinating, unjustly neglected adaptation of Daniel Defoe’s classic survival novel. His take on the story—in which the epo...