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About This Item

Unique ID Code: 0000014392
Added by: DVD Reviewer
Added on: 24/2/2001 09:39
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Brief Encounter: Special Edition (UK)

8 / 10
2 votes cast
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Noel Coward`s classic story of a brief and deeply moving romance
Certificate: PG
Running Time: 107 mins
Retail Price: £15.99
Release Date:

Noel Coward`s sensitive portrayal of what happens when two happily married strangers, played by Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson, meet and their acquaintance deepens into affection and eventually into love.

It is the story of two people, thrown together by the chance meeting of the title, helpless in the face of their emotions but redeemed by their moral courage.

Over the years few films have equalled the compassion and the realism of Brief Encounter.

Special Features:
Interactive Menus
Scene Access

Video Tracks:
Pan & Scan 1.33:1

Audio Tracks:
Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 English

Directed By:
David Lean

Written By:

Cyril Raymond
Joyce Carey
Stanley Holloway
Trevor Howard
Celia Johnson

Soundtrack By:
Sergei Rachmaninov

Director of Photography:
Robert Krasker

Jack Harris

Ronald Neame
Anthony Havelock-Allan
Noel Coward


Your Opinions and Comments

9 / 10
It is well worthwhile watching a classic like this on DVD and a big screen. You can have essentially the same presentation as those who saw the film in the 1940s, and it is a powerful experience even though the story of an extra-marital affair will not have the same shock-value in today`s society as it no doubt had when the film was made.

If you have not seen this film before, suffice it to say that it is a classic love story, dealing better than probably any other film with the conflicts between passion and self-control. It is based on a one act stage play by Noel Coward and has much more of an `edge` than his usual drawing-room fare. Even if the 1940s middle-class accents grate for you (amazing to think that it was normal to speak like that in the 1940s - personally I love it), watch it for the social commentary alone.

This Carlton DVD is a superb transfer, one of the best I have ever seen. It is sharp and detailed throughout. There are a couple of blemishes and scratches in the source material, but essentially the digital transfer is just about as good as it could possibly be. Contrast and gamma (shadow detail) seem to be perfect, showing off the luminous cinematography to its maximum. Black level is one notch above absolute black, resulting in some black level `noise` in frames that should be purely black, but apart from that there are no digital artifacts that I could see. Rain, mist and smoke are the hardest images to render on a DVD and these appear perfectly. Overall, this is an extremely impressive transfer and certainly adds to the pleasure of this disk.

The audio is crystal clear, astonishing for the age of the film - the restoration of the audio is clearly the work of a master. One slight quibble is that the audio track cuts off sharply at the end of the film, suggesting that it could have been left to run for a couple of seconds longer; of course that could be a feature of the original material.

There are some extras, including a short documentary feature made in 2000 which held little interest for me; I do not know whether interviews with Noel Coward, David Lean, Celia Johnson or Trevor Howard exist but those would have been much more interesting if they could have been unearthed.

I have not seen the Criterion R1 version of this, but I would guess that the R2 version, given its quality, must be derived from the same restored film material and perhaps the same digital master. It is hard to tell whether the R2 version is made from a high-resolution master or from up-converted NTSC source material, but I would guess it is the former as the quality is so high. If that is right then the video on the R2 version may actually be better than the R1, given the increased resolution of R2 disks. In any event, the R2 price is a bargain compared with Criterion prices. The principal difference between the versions seems to be the omission from this version of the commentary by film historian Bruce Eder.

Overall, a thoroughly recommended disk.

(NB my scores for video and audio reflect the age of the film and the quality of the restoration; the disk is of course black-and-white, Academy aspect ratio (4:3) and straightforward stereo.)
posted by inti on 29/10/2002 13:42