Thursday, May 12, 2005

"The Browning Version"

Here's an excellent synopsis of today's film, from The Criterion Collection
Michael Redgrave gives the performance of his career in Anthony
Asquith’s adaptation of Terence Rattigan’s unforgettable play. Redgrave portrays Andrew Crocker-Harris, an embittered, middle-aged schoolmaster who begins to feel his life has been a failure. Diminished by poor health, a crumbling marriage, and the derision of his pupils, the once brilliant scholar is compelled to reexamine his life when a young student offers an unexpected gesture of kindness. A heartbreaking story of remorse and atonement, The Browning Version is a classic of British realism and the winner of Best Actor and Best Screenplay honors at the 1951 Cannes Film Festival.


maggie said...

The Browning Version is Film Noir. (Film Noir "castrates" its male heros). Is there an equivalent genre in literature?

Dr. S.A. Ogden said...

Hmm .. good point about the film. Much of modernism has that theme (Joyce's "Ulysses" e.g.) But the arc of fiction we are looking at here very much expresses that anxiety, as we shal see. Please bring your good observation up in seminar...

Huelah said...
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Huelah said...

A "performance point" to ponder:
In "Browning's Version" Mr. Crocker-Harris tells the new teacher (sorry his name eludes me) that his teaching persona started out as performance. He, Mr. C.H., noticed that some of his students mocked his idiosycracies. Consequently, in order to amuse and entertain his pupils, he exaggerated his behaviour. Eventually, he became the role he was performing. I think this is potentially an excellent illustration of the performative nature of masculinity, especially when we contrast it with Mrs. C.H. In public she performs the role of long-suffering, dutiful -yet sexy- wife. However, her essential nature, apparently that of an unredeemable bitch, remains unchanged. Any thoughts?

maggie said...

A couple of comparisons between The Browning Version and Stalky:

Both works present cricket, not only as a game but also as a notion. ie the British idiom that something is (not) cricket.

Neither Tapham nor Stalky has a father. In the film we see Topham with his mother only on sports day, and "Slaves of the Lamp 11 "Stalky hadn't a father" (295).

In Brighton Rock fathers are problematic, it seems to me.