Speaking of affairs, last night I saw The original film adaptation of Graham Greene's The End of the Affair. I have to way that I do not care for Van Johnson that much. Didn't like him in The Caine Mutiny. Didn't like him here. He is such an archetypical worried-look-on-his-face-in-a-trenchcoat-in-the-rain-in-a-black-and-white-movie kind of actor, that his acting does not ring true. It's hollow, somehow. Too predictable.
Deborah Kerr, however...
I could watch her in anything, I guess. She is just so, ephemeral. Somehow. So intangible. You never quite know where you have her. But yet so real. Down to Earth. Totally believable. Here, she is playing the adulterous wife. In a film made in 1955. Doesn't get much more taboo than that. And does she come off as an evil, two-dimensional character? Someone who doesn't evoke the least bit of compassion? No, absolutely not. You feel for her right from the start. In a way. She manages to make it all so real: The vulnerability for what happens; the torment over that it is wrong in all respects; how she still can't help giving in to her emotions; the guilt; the passion; the hope. All of it. This is one of those gifted actresses who shows you so much, mainly by doing so little. It is that understated performance which saves this otherwise unremarkable adaptation. Well, that and Peter Cushing's neat and proper little British civil servant. I wonder what it must have been like to grow up in a time and country where most people acted that way. Every day. Makes the average present day social interaction seem almost barbaric.
I look forward to my next batch of Netflix movies. In it, there is a 1999 adaptation of the same book. With Ralph Fiennes. And Julianne Moore. And that guy from the Crying Game that looks a bit like Geoffrey Rush.
1955 and 1999. A world apart.