August 08, 2005

THE BROWNING VERSION (THE CRITERION COLLECTION)
Anthony Asquith, 1951

8.0
set amidst a boring boys private school, this small tale is the story of one professor's last term before his retirement. but what perked me up was Michael Redgrave's quietly illuminating turn as tired and soulless professor Crocker-Harris. the story starts out rather dryly about the last few days in the boys' term and a future professor enters the scene. but he merely enters the film as an outsider to enable us to learn about the school and its characters. it's a nicely executed trick, mainly because Asquith makes him look like he's gonna be the main character in the film. and you do willfully follow him along and find old professor Crock a bore. but as with most characters in the film, as soon as you think you've got him pegged, he and director Anthony Asquith quietly open him up and make you feel a little bit for the man; more than you thought possible at first. and they don't use tricks, melodrama, or even charm either - no, it's Michael Redgrave's constantly stunning and subtle performance that does it. it's quite a remarkable performance. it's a heartbreaking story of one man's life, his regrets, and making the most of himself.

Posted by Sam | 2:57 PM |