Friday, 30 October 2015
Bliss ... a morning in the cinema watching Brief Encounter. It gets better every time you see it - for the umpteenth time, as it's my favourite film of all time, but until today I'd only ever seen it on television. It looked splendid, high-def or digitally-restored or whatever it is they do to old movies these days - that stunning black and white photography so crisp and clear in time for its 70th anniversary next month.
And no matter how many times I see it, and though I know the script almost off by heart - there's always something I've never noticed before. Heavens, there's a goldfish bowl on the mantelpiece in that chilly service flat belonging to Alec's friend ... fancy never noticing that before!
I don't know why I love it so much. Laura's a terrible drip and I wouldn't fancy Trevor Howard in a month of Sundays. And I've never been convinced that he wasn't really the most awful cad, because he doesn't half chat her up quick in the Kardomah; bit too practised, don't you think? And he's got sticky-out ears. On the other hand, there's Fred ... licking his pencil and struggling over the Times crossword (such easy clues!) and calling her 'old girl' ... no wonder poor Laura is gagging for tea and buns with another man. (She wasn't exactly high maintenance, was she?)
As for noticing things for the first time, oh dear, has anybody ever noticed Celia Johnson's false teeth? I read a biography by one of her daughters recently, and apparently she lost her front teeth in her teens. And now every time she smiles, I think ... Celia's dentures! Just as well the romance came to nothing. You can only keep your teeth in a glass by the bed when you're married to Fred.
But it was a delight. I loved being able to see all the detail of her clothes - those ladylike tweeds, the fur collar on her coat and her crocodile handbag. (Celia Johnson, in 1945, was simply longing to keep her costumes, after all those years of coupons, but wasn't allowed to.) And then there's the book jackets in the shop window. (Walter Greenwood. Karen Blixen. But this is what Laura had from Boots' library.) And the railway posters to Llandudno and Gloucester Cathedral. Yes, it was bliss.
I could have watched it all again as soon as it ended. Looking on YouTube I found it in Spanish. Which just seems wrong.