Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
United Kingdom, 1955. Coronado Productions. Screenplay by Lenore J. Coffee, based on the novel by Graham Greene. Cinematography by Wilkie Cooper. Produced by David Lewis. Music by Benjamin Frankel. Production Design by Donald M. Ashton. Costume Design by Julia Squire. Film Editing by Alan Osbiston. Cannes Film Festival 1955.
And you thought the remake was boring. Edward Dmytryk’s original is pretty much as dreary, shallow and uninteresting as the 1999 Neil Jordan version with Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore, but this one also doesn’t have the honest depiction of adultery (i.e. the hot sex) that made the remake at least somewhat bearable. Deborah Kerr is wonderful as the bored wife to a successful civil servant (Peter Cushing) who meets an American writer (Van Johnson) and immediately begins an affair with him. Dabbling outside the home is nothing new for her, but finding true love with the man she’s dallying with is something she’s never encountered before. Unfortunately for the audience, however, there’s not a single spark of chemistry between the two leads, and author Graham Greene’s ridiculously judgmental Catholic moralizing becomes tiresome very quickly, right up to the pathetic conclusion that defies all sense.