The Browning Version
The Browning Version (Movie - 1951)
Michael Redgrave’s stoical, nuanced performance anchors this poignant drama about a stodgy classics teacher whose disconnection from his students is upended when one gives him Robert Browning’s translation of Agamemnon. The professor is also trapped in a loveless marriage with a Clytemnestral spouse (Jean Kent) in Terence Rattigan’s adaptation of his play, which seems like a stiff-upper-lip precursor to Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? — almost. The closeted Rattigan reveals the core of the marital division in a skillfully ambiguous speech about ”two kinds of love,” ostensibly intellectual versus emotional, but 50 years later unmistakably about something else. EXTRAS Laurels both to Bruce Eder’s informative commentary (director Anthony Asquith lived at 10 Downing St. from 1908 to 1916; his father was prime minister) and to an appreciation by Mike Figgis, who remade The Browning Version in 1994 and talks about film, theater, and ”dandruff acting,” wherein Brits toss off dialogue while they flick at their lapels.