Sunday, February 11, 2024

Brief Encounter, Kind Hearts and Coronets: Two outstanding podcasts on two outstanding films

Search for a list of the 10 best British films and there's a good chance that both Brief Encounter and Kind Hearts and Coronets will feature in it. In the Empire Online list from a couple of months ago, for instance, they figure at 5 and 7 respectively.

So it's good that in recent days I have come across outstanding podcasts about both.

The Cine-Files, like all the best podcasts, has two presenters. And what is so good about their edition on Brief Encounter is that one of them, Steve Morris, is already convinced of its greatness, while the other, John Rocha, very much remains to be convinced.

By the end of it, I think Morris will have convinced every listener that David Lean's direction, Noel Coward's dialogue and Celia Johnson's acting add up to something quite extraordinary. And I, at least, came away wondering if the hero of the film isn't Johnson's husband Fred.

If you want a little more on Brief Encounter, then try the episode of the BBC's Free Thinking on Why we Need Weepies. Like Cine-Files, it entertains the terrible possibility that Johnson may not be the first woman Trevor Howard has picked up at Milford Junction.

The Comfort Blanket podcast bills itself as:

"talking about the films, TV shows, books or music which people go to again and again to feel safe, happy and welcome."

But there's nothing comfortable about the latest edition, where Naomi Alderman brings along Kind Hearts and Coronets for discussion.

This, after all, is a film in which we are invited to take the part of a mass murderer and do so enthusiastically. And we are left wondering whether, after the film closes, Joan Greenwood's Sibella won't prove to be the deadliest character of all.

My only complaint is that no one on the podcast is aware that the journalist who turns up at the end to ask about Louis's memoirs is played by a young Arthur Lowe.

If you want a little more, then try the Soho Bites Podcast episode on the film Monsieur Ripois, which interviews Joan Greenwood's son Jason Morell.

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