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!
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