The David Lean Blogathon – The Passionate Friends (1949)

This is the first of two posts dedicated to the The David Lean Blogathon being held over at Maddy Loves Her Classic Films

Tnx Maddy for letting me take part!

“You don’t really know me at all. My love isn’t worth very much.” – Mary

Number of Times Seen – 1 (15 Jul 2018)

Brief Synopsis – A couple who were once in love meet up again years later and wonder if they can find a way to rekindle their own love despite the fact that both have moved on in life.

My Take on it – When I decided to join this blogathon, I was quite interested in finding a Lean film or two that I had yet to see in order to expand my knowledge of his work.

I am a HUGE fan of his epic films and The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) is one of my favorite all time films.  (I almost re-watched that film for this blogathon).

I knew nothing about this film before watching it besides the fact that it stars Trevor Howard and that it’s one of Maddy‘s favorite films 🙂

They do an amazing job with this film and allow us to see how life moves along for people even if they sometimes wish for it to remain still.

The premise of this film is very timeless and it can be placed in just about any time period with the same amazing results.

It’s very relateable to just about everyone because most of us have raised the question in life about what if we were to meet up with the “one that got away”.

I was shocked to learn that this is based on a novel by HG Wells who I am more familiar with as a science fiction writer.

Lean does an amazing job using flashbacks and flash forwards in time to give us a complete picture of who these people are and we easily understand the kind of connection that they had that just wont go away whenever they meet one another.

It is so easy to feel for these characters and even root for them even when morally, it isn’t so clear as to what to hope for.

Howard and Ann Todd (Lean’s wife) have amazing chemistry together which also helps the viewer cheer for them to find a way despite all of the obstacles they face.

The film doesn’t even try to sugarcoat the morality of it all and allows us to see a realistic story that works on numerous levels.

Claude Rains is great in a very important supporting role and we get to see what kind of character he is by the way that he is shown over the course of the film in various situations.

I’m so happy that I finally got to see this film and it especially makes me appreciate the work of Lean even more because I now know that he isn’t solely a great director in epic films.

Bottom Line – Does a great job dealing with how life moves along yet sometimes one wants it to stand still.  The premise presented is quite timeless and is very relatable to most people because most of us always wonder about “the one who got away”. Lean expertly uses flashbacks and flash forwards to give us a very complete and descriptive understanding of the relationship of these two people over the years.  Howard and Todd have amazing chemistry together and despite the obstacles their characters face along the way, it so easy to continue to root for them no matter what they do.  Rains is superb is his supporting role because we also get to know what kind of person he is over the course of the events of the film.  I’m so glad I finally got to see this film!  Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The first of three consecutive films Todd and Lean made together during their marriage. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10)


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11 thoughts on “The David Lean Blogathon – The Passionate Friends (1949)

  1. Pingback: The David Lean Blogathon Begins – Maddy Loves Her Classic Films

  2. Hi Rob. I am so happy to read about how much you’ve enjoyed this one.It’s a real character piece, and I love how it doesn’t judge these characters for the situation they find themselves in.I also like how you can sympathise with them all at various points in the film.

    Some of his other smaller films that I’d recommend (not sure if you’ve seen these or not) are This Happy Breed, Summertime(which I know you’re also reviewing), Brief Encounter, In Which We Serve, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and The Sound Barrier.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m thrilled to read that you enjoyed this film. It is has been far too heavily panned in my opinion. Honestly, I loved it immediately and could feel the huge emotional toll that had been put on the characters. Claude Rains was an exemplary actor and Trevor Howard delivered a strong performance in his early career. There is a great deal of truth in this film when it comes to complicated relationships, broken hearts, and as you mentioned, thinking about “the one that got away”. This is a complete gem of a film.
    I really believe that Ann Todd’s style and presence on-screen did not suit those outside of the U.K., as her role in Hitchcock’s ‘The Parradine Case’ was also brutally dissected.

    Liked by 1 person

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