Re: Forgotten films that are predecessors of well-remembered films

From: David P. Hayes
Newsgroups: rec.arts.movies.past-films
Date: Tuesday, February 24, 1998 4:00 PM

I came up with another example for my own thread:

"Brief Ecstasy" (British, 1937) and "Brief Encounter" (British, 1945). I have not seen the former, but William K. Everson in his book "Love in the Film" discusses how "Brief Ecstasy" does first some of what would be repeated to more lasting notice in "Brief Encounter." Both involve a wife who on chance acquaintance with a man finds herself attracted to him, he willing to have her, and although she has lust in her body, she resists the temptation to submit to him even when they're alone in a room with a bed. The title of "Brief Ecstasy" may remind film buffs of the four-years-earlier Czechoslovakian film "Ecstasy," and indeed Everson points out that "Brief Ecstasy" has duplicate elements of that film, too, and draws from that earlier film some symbolic details and some cinematographic technique. (In particular, Everson cites that "Brief Ecstasy" repeats the use of a violent storm and its ravaging the woman's window curtains to symbolize sexual frustration. Also repeated: phallic use of billiard cue, the husband's careful attention to his combs, brushes and folded trousers; and a idyllic hillside country walk between lovers.)

This above three-way grouping parallels the example I gave earlier of "The Front Page"/"Headline Shooter"/"His Girl Friday."


Return to Table of Contents

Go to next article