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  • John Schlesinger filmed Terence Rattigan's famous play from the 50's pretty much as is - there's no "opening up" of the play, and the two one-act segments are not combined, as they were in the 1958 film version. The play itself is, no surprise, dated and rather quaint, though you can see it must have seemed fairly sensational stuff back in the mid-50's, with allusions to sex crimes and homosexuality. At its best, though, it offers a penetrating depiction of loneliness and the stifling nature of English society at the time.

    Also, most satisfyingly, it offers a banquet of tour-de-force performances. Julie Christie and Alan Bates are splendid and moving, each in dual roles, and make a fine team, as they have several other times as well. Claire Bloom is understated and marvelous, as always, and the supporting characters are picture-perfect. This is a cast that could hardly be bettered, and they make this perhaps the finest version of this particular play we are likely to see. Worth while for anyone who loves good acting!
  • This twin set of plays, each entirely self-contained although tangentially linked in time and space, offer magnificent performances by inspired actors, perceptive dialogue, and a mirror. While the two one-act plays are somewhat dated, the principles that they delineate, including loneliness, a desire for dignity, bitter regret and the search for love are universal, and timeless.

    Of particular note is Alan Bates, an actor who is able to convey a full-range of emotions, and creates two completely dissimilar characters convincingly. His retired army officer is exceptionally poignant; with the lift of an eyebrow, the clearing of his throat or the steeling of his shoulders, Bates inhabits the character of the lonely poseur with such grace and authenticity, that he makes you truly care about what happens to him, and makes you despise the hypocrites at the boarding house who condemn him for his shortcomings.

    Julie Christie is equally brilliant, using her radiant beauty to stunning effect in the first play, and abandoning it in the second (quite bravely, for a woman and actress known for her legendary face)

    This is, in the end, filmed theater, and the viewer feels as if he is actually sitting in front of the stage. While not taking anything away from the fine film version with David Niven, Deborah Kerr, Wendy Hiller and Rita Hayworth, this version is superior in all respects.
  • sdfitch215 October 2004
    I was extremely fortunate to see the original play in London with Eric Portman and Margaret Leighton when I was a student there. I was knocked out with it, especially as the two leads doubled the roles as indeed Julie Christie and Alan Bates do in this wonderful TV version. What a tour de force this is for any actor and you need actors of great quality to make these roles completely different and, more importantly, believable. For anyone who is not familiar with Rattigan's stage play then this is the version to watch. The film version with Burt Lancaster, David Niven and Deborah Kerr, was messed about with by combining the two separate plays and re-writing the characters to suit the American casting of Burt Lancaster and Rita Hayworth. In this TV production the casting throughout is superlative. They bring this tale of deep loneliness and pathetic hypocrisy to life without it being overly sentimental in any way. I have since directed the play on stage and the more you read the actual script you realize what a wonderful performance this TV version is. Clare Bloom is very effective as Pat Cooper, the hotel manageress. Irene Worth is just superb as the vicious Mrs Railton Bell and the rest of the cast are faultless. Alan Bates and Julie Christie make this a joyous feast of acting to watch. I truly don't know which is the better performance. Also I really loved the music used as the introduction and prologue to this film. A must for anybody who really enjoys first class acting.
  • footzie9 July 1999
    Alan Bates and Julie Christie take on Terence Rattigan's fine brace of stories and give lessons in the art of acting. Bates is wonderful and Christie is nothing short of miraculous. A must see.
  • The Hollywood version of this, though well thought of at the time, is pretty awful. So it's great that this version was done for TV, by the same folks who produced the often wonderful "American Film Theater" series some ten years before. Alan Bates was in three of those. He is typically fine here.... Julie Christie gets to stretch in the two parts She does here. Is it possible Julie Christie could have ever been such a repressed wallflower in real life?

    It's great stuff. A few years back I picked up a copy (it's not on DVD) for nothing on ebay, now I see copies are going for forty bucks. Some things on VHS are bound to fall between the cracks when it comes to DVD. See this if you get the chance....
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is a fine adaptation of two one-act plays designed to make up an evening in the theatre. As a Rattigan devotee I have seen several different productions over the years and I was unable to detect any tampering with the original text; no attempt had been made to shatter the claustrophobic feel of the theatre productions and it was like a breath of fresh air after the recent travesty of The Deep Blue Sea by that darling of the BFI who thought he was qualified let alone capable of rewriting Rattigan. I'm indebted to a fellow film fan whom I know only via the internet who kindly copied this fairly elusive print for me and I thoroughly enjoyed this TV version which boasts some of the finest ensemble playing one is likely to see. Light years ahead of the mediocre Hollywood version albeit David Niven deserved his Oscar - but having said that he wasn't afforded the opportunity to offer his John Malcolm. This is highly recommended.
  • 27 January 2010. This made of television version of the play, starring Julie Christie, Alan Bates, and Claire Bloom brings the play on the small screen, richly maintaining the feel and atmosphere of the staged play itself. The characters' delivery of their lines with the subtle and sometimes dramatic nuance strikes a deep cord into the human condition and intimate human relationships as well as the societal condemnation and humiliation and tolerance of man's indiscretion. It's difficult to understand the power of this movie, in its depiction that seems to be razor sharp in scratching deeply the human emotional core. By the end of the movie, one can be considered transformed in a small way for having experienced the raw tension, the human conflict and resolution of several intertwining human events and interactions that play to our basic human lives. An amazing experience. 9/10.