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.