The Passionate Friends Review

Image for The Passionate Friends

When two young lovers, Mary and Steven, are separated, she finds herself marrying an older man despite nursing a broken heart. Years later they meet again and have one last fling together in the Alps.

★★★★★

David Lean was director-for-hire on this adaptation of an H.G. Wells novel to relieve producer Ronald Neame of a problematic project. As a consequence, the film is meticulous and highly cinematic but passionless, with Ann Todd struggling to convey the turmoil she faces after meeting old flame Trevor Howard while enduring a loveless marriage to Claude Rains. Indeed, there’s more warmth in Guy Green’s Alpine landscapes than Todd’s icy demeanour, as she weighs up whether she prefers ardour to material comfort. It’s a fascinating snapshot of middle-class mores during the post-War socialist revolution, but it cries out for a heroine of Celia Johnson’s sensitivity.

It’s a fascinating snapshot of middle-class mores during the post-War socialist revolution, but it cries out for a heroine of Celia Johnson’s sensitivity.