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The Browning Version 1994 R CC

4.3 out of 5 stars (44) IMDb 7.3/10

Andrew Crocker-Harris is an embittered and disliked teacher of Greek and Latin at a British prep school. After nearly 20 years of service, he is being forced to retire on the pretext of his health, and perhaps may not even be given a pension.

Starring:
Albert Finney, Greta Scacchi
Runtime:
1 hour, 37 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Mike Figgis
Starring Albert Finney, Greta Scacchi
Supporting actors Matthew Modine, Julian Sands, Michael Gambon, Ben Silverstone, Jim Sturgess, Joseph Beattie, Mark Bolton, Tom Havelock, Walter Micklethwait, Jotham Annan, David Lever, Bruce Myers, Maryam d'Abo, Heathcote Williams, Oliver Milburn, Jeff Nuttall, Dinah Stabb, Belinda Low
Studio Paramount
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Albert Finney's portrayal of retiring classics teacher, Andrew Crocker Harris, in "The Browning Version" is a marvelous and understated performance that you will not forget. While I rarely review movies on this site and I cannot fathom why I missed this film when it was released in 1994, I recommend that everyone see it. The title refers to a translation of Aeschylus' Agamemnon; a play that many students will recall from high school. A play that resounds within this story too.
Crocker Harris is mocked and ridiculed by the students as a classics teacher of Latin and Greek. His popularity pales when compared to a physical education teacher who is also departing the school. His position at the prestigious English boarding school is being eliminated for one that emphasizes the study of modern languages. His wife is unfaithful with Matthew Modine's character, an American chemistry teacher. The students often cite Crocker Harris' refrain about grading " You have obtained exactly what you deserve- no less and certainly no more." A line that unfortunately also describes Crocker Harris' teaching career and life.
In line with films like Dead Poets Society and The Emperor's Club, The Browning Version will keep your interest and not disappoint.
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Format: DVD
Of course, Finney needs no intro- especially with his recent BAFTA. As remakes go, this one is exceptionally good (compared to the 1951 original with Michael Redgrave). Acclaimed director Mike Figgis took an old fashioned setting & brilliantly updated it so that the story occurs in the present. The scenes were beautifully shot too. The key scene where the boy, Taplow gave Andrew Crocker-Harris (Finney) the gift of the book was actually a great improvement compared to the original. Thought provoking, truly 1st class acting & totally enjoyable. Well done Mike Figgis- another excellent example of skillful direction. Praise to Albert Finney too- few films these days carry such a dignified performance.
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Format: VHS Tape
Albert Finney is the most compelling reason for watching this adaption of Terence Rattigan's stage play. His performance is moving as a classics teacher in a British public school, despised by his pupils and rejected by his unfaithful wife. He plays the role of Andrew Crocker-Harris with real pathos. In particular, the scene in which the young Taplow gives him a book (the Browning version of the title) as a parting gift after he is forced into early retirement, is an incredible moment, the force of which makes Harris' wife's subsequent cruelty all the more hard-hitting. For all his self-confessed flaws, Harris emerges (thanks to Finney, who rarely disappoints) as a genuinely sympathetic character whom the viewer can come to identify with, much as young Taplow came to identify with this tragic character.
I am not familiar with Rattigan's original stage play, so I am not in a place to make comparisons. The 'Figgis version' certainly did it for me. The beautiful location filming, the score, and the excellent supporting cast are all worthy of recommendation. Overall, the film is executed without fanfare or overstatement, relying on an affecting story told persuasively by a superb ensemble of actors.
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Format: DVD
Having seen Terrence Rattigan's play performed live several times,as well as having seen the original 1951 film adaptation,director Mike Figgis has scored a real triumph with Greta Scacchi and Albert Finney in the roles of Laura and Andrew Crocker-Harris.The play itself is not IMO the most lively of stories,nor certainly the finest play yet written,but what Scacchi and Finney bring to the table as this terribly ill suited husband and wife is screen magic and their performances alone put this BROWNING VERSION at the very top.Andrew,a professor of Greek at an exclusive English Prep School has been anything but endearing over the years to his students.Obviously his younger and gorgeous wife,Laura,has enough baggage of her own to be a sexual minx with an American faculty member (Matthew Modine,who seems like...well...Matthew Modine-not a memorable performance).It is one student,Taplow (Ben Silverstone),who has been sincerely touched by his crochety professor, who , wise beyond his years,is the key to unlocking the long-ago closed heart of Andrew.But it is the outstanding performances of Finney against Scaachi that really set this film into gear.It is their relationship that director Figgis shows us in such gut-wrenching detail with long,reflective closeups.Figgis has chosen to allow the camera to dwell into the faces and souls of his characters,instead of pushing along the story.This is Figgis' decision and it works magnificently.You will be hard pressed to find a better piece of directing and acting when it comes to expressing the regrets and failures of a mismatched couple.This is a film of regret and resignation,not of a happy ending....hmmmn....like life sometimes,huh?
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
It must be said that Albert Finney's performance is first-rate--restrained, subtle, and yet powerfully moving. What an actor! But I should add that he has tough competition from Michael Redgrave playing the part of Crocker-Harris in the original black-and-white film of Rattigan's play. To my mind, Redgrave wins hands-down. In addition, the new technicolor version is less than satisfactory in many other respects. Most of the supporting actors are more forgettable in the roles (especially the boys) than their predecessors. Michael Gabon is OK as the headmaster, but cannot compete in creepiness with Wilfred Hyde-White. Matthew Modine as the lover of "Crock's" wife is much too much of the Hollywood pretty boy. (I fail to see what is gained by the rescripting's making him an American. In fact, many of the rewriter's updates seem gratuitious and facile to me.) Only Greta Scacchi gives a performance that matches, or perhaps outdoes, Jean Kent's in the original version. All in all the older movie is more convincing and authentic.
And of course, both versions get something important across: that Terence Rattigan is a much underrated dramatist and deserves a rehearing. "The Winslow Boy" has already been refilmed and perhaps "Separate Tables" (remember Deborah Kerr and David Niven?) will also at last get another chance on both stage and screen.
One final remark about the Finney version. I watched it with closed captioning. Finney is a headmaster teaching Greek (the title refers to Robert Browning's translation of Aeschylus' Agamemnon), but every time he quotes ancient Greek in this movie, the subtitles say "Speaking Latin" and give no translation. To misquote Ezra Pound, the thought of what the modern world would come to "if the classics had a wider circulation" may well trouble our sleep . . .
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