Monday, August 20, 2007

Brief Encounter in Carnforth

Towards the end of the Second World War, David Lean filmed Noel Coward's Still Life as Brief Encounter, a classic film starring Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson. It's about Laura and Alec, each married to someone else, who meet by accident at a railway station, and fall in love. It's still an excellent film, though demonstrates clearly how English pronunciation has changed and has moved much further forward in the mouth - their pronunciation of "back" really does sound like "beck" to the modern ear.

ALthough it's set somewhere in the South of England, much of the location filming for Brief Encounter was done at Carnforth Station in Lancashire. A few years ago the station was near-derelict: now it's been beautifully restored with a refreshment room like the one in the film (excellent scones), a visitor centre, a gift shop selling all things Train, and Brief Encounter showing on a loop on a television. The clock, which features largely in the film, is there too:

Today I went over to Carnforth to see Theatre of the Dales performing a shortened version of it in Carnforth Station, directed by David Robertson with our very own Sonia Beck and her fairly-newly-married husband Adrian Metcalfe as Laura and Alec, plus Jane Oakshott doubling as the tearoom lady and Laura's friend, who annoyingly interrupts their goodbyes - - oh, look, just go and see the film, if you don't know what I'm on about.

The piece is clearly still popular: the place was packed: here are some of the audience:

And the play still works, if done well, which this was. It's not an easy piece to act - it must be acted really well or else it could descend into melodrama - but today it made us all cry. In a good way.
There's a story there somewhere about a man and a woman, each married to someone else, who meet whilst watching Brief Encounter at Carnforth Station, and fall in love.


Blogger Silverback said...

Just a few minutes drive from the station is the stunning Leighton Hall, also used in the film.

The weather wasn't great today so your post and photos were most welcome.

Hope there were no creases in your clothing !!

11:27 pm  

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