Before Big: The Early Films of David Lean

9/19/08 to 10/11/08

David Lean's early films are smaller in scale than his famous epics, but nonetheless “lively, stirring, and an inspiration . . . in love with the screen's power and the combustion in editing” (David Thomson). We present ten of these wonderfully crafted British classics in recently restored prints.

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  • Brief Encounter, September 19

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Past Films

  • The Sound Barrier

    • Saturday, October 11 6:30 PM

    Ralph Richardson is an industrialist driven to create a supersonic plane in this drama that anticipates Lean's later epics.

  • Madeleine

    • Sunday, October 5 3:00 PM

    The enigmatic Ann Todd plays Madeleine Smith, the center of a real-life murder case in 1850s Glasgow, in this moody romantic mystery.

  • Oliver Twist

    • Saturday, October 4 3:00 PM

    Lean's second Dickens adaptation is “textbook-perfect cinema.”-Village Voice

  • The Passionate Friends

    • Friday, October 3 6:30 PM

    This gorgeous rediscovery is a fascinating counterpart to Brief Encounter, starring Trevor Howard and Lean's then wife Ann Todd.

  • This Happy Breed

    • Wednesday, October 1 7:00 PM

    In the story of one middle-class family, Lean and Noel Coward create a microcosm of Britain between the wars. “Of all Lean's early work, it remains one of his most elegant, understated and sincere.”-London Film Festival

  • Hobson's Choice

    • Saturday, September 27 6:30 PM

    Charles Laughton as a domineering Victorian father who gets his comeuppance from a determined daughter. “A timeless delight.”-Time Out

  • In Which We Serve

    • Thursday, September 25 6:30 PM

    Noel Coward wrote, codirected, and starred in this stiff-upper-lip saga of a British naval vessel in World War II.

  • Blithe Spirit

    • Saturday, September 20 6 PM

    Noel Coward's cynical wit takes a supernatural turn as Rex Harrison is haunted by the ghost of his first wife.

  • Great Expectations

    • Saturday, September 20 3:00 PM

    Lean vividly renders young Pip's rise in “the most felicitous adaptation of a Dickens novel ever.”-Village Voice

  • Brief Encounter

    • Friday, September 19 6:30 PM

    Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard in a true classic of thwarted passion. “Only those with a heart and brain of stone could fail to be moved.”-Guardian (U.K.)