Brief Encounter (1945)
Simplistic and invigorating romantic drama, evolving around two middle-class, middle-aged people, husband and wife in separate dull marriages, who meet by chance in a railway station and embark on an emotional awakening together. Adapted, or rather expanded, from Noel Coward's one act play, Brief Encounter emerges as layered and psychologically complete, dealing devotedly with every aspect of a potential adultery at the time in question. The film is at its most impressive depicting the moral values of the 1940s Britain while at the same time retaining a universal, timeless nature. And Coward naturally finds place for a few jabs at arch-English etiquette. The film is sentimental in nature; only in a couple of scenes towards the end does it threaten to overdo it. But fine acting from Johnson and particularly Howard keeps it convincing throughout. David Lean directed with impressive neatness. This sort of running-time would have been unthinkable towards the end of his career.