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The End of the Affair (1955)

It's hard to rate a movie after you've seen a far superior adaptation of the same story, and Edward Dmytryk's 1955 film of Graham Greene's novel, The End of the Affair, simply can't compete with Neil Jordan's brilliant 1999 remake. Although Deborah Kerr and Van Johnson are competent in their portrayals of Sarah Miles and Maurice Bendrix, a housewife and novelist who are having a passionate affair behind the back of Sarah's doting husband (John Mills), the story is hindered by unimaginative cinematography, and pacing which borders on stagnant. Although the film does follow the plot of Greene's novel more closely than Jordan's version, much of the book's passion has been watered down, resulting in a story geared to be as unoffensive as possible to 1955 sensibilities. Columbia Classics has issued The End of the Affair in a mediocre DVD volume; the special features include both widescreen (1.85:1) and full-frame versions on the same disc, but other than a few textual supplements, that's about all you get. In order to pad things out a bit more, Columbia has included the theatrical trailer for the Neil Jordan version of the novel (but not the 1955 adaptation). A "making-of" documentary (again, spotlighting the Jordan adaptation) rounds out the package, but since all these extras (and many more) are included on the DVD of Jordan's far superior film, we recommend you check out that version instead.
—Joe Barlow



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