The Passionate Friends

Synopsis: The Passionate Friends were in love when young, but separated, and she married an older man. Then Mary Justin meets Steven Stratton again and they have one last fling together in the Alps.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): David Lean
Production: General Film Distributors
  1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
95 min


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A holiday. A holiday in Switzerland.

I remember thinking that it was the first

real holiday Howard and I had had for years.

He was going to join me there

as soon as he could get away.

I was looking forward to it all as though I'd

never been out of England in my life before.

White bread.

Lots of butter.

Wonderful coffee.

And cream!


And below us somewhere

was the French coast.

I began to wonder about the hotel we were

going to and the people we would meet there.

I wondered.

Supposing the room wasn't comfortable.

No, thank you.

It was comfortable, of course. Very.

Howard's secretary had travelled with me,

and even she was impressed.

- It's lovely.

- Thank you, madame.

- It is lovely, isn't it, Joan?

- Yes, it is.

- Has mademoiselle's room the same view?

- Yes, madame. Along the corridor.

I'll go and see it.

I'll meet you downstairs in half an hour.

I suppose I was aware

there was an adjoining room -

there often are in hotels -

but I didn't give a thought to who might be in

it, or was going to be in it. Why should I?

(Bell rings)

(Bell rings again)

Voil, voil! Attends une minute!


Qu'est-ce que c'est? Bon soir.

a y est. Merci bien.

Il y a une chambre reserve

au nom de Stratton.

Oh, yes, sir. Come in, please.

- Sorry, sir, we expected you earlier.

- I'm very late.

- I missed the connection at Basle.

- It does happen.

The room is ready. It's number 6.

- Is it all the baggage?

- Yes, that's all.

This way, sir, please.

The kitchen is closed, but if you were

hungry I could find you something.

- I had dinner on the train.

- Oh, good.

I remember hearing

a faint murmur of voices.

That's all.

I'd been reading in bed.

I must have been half asleep.

The curious thing was that although

I hadn't seen him for nine years,

I was thinking about him

at that very moment.

I wonder what I'd have done

if I'd known he was only a few feet away.


Run away?

No. I'd have wanted to see his face

and hear his voice.

Instead, I lay there in the dark, thinking.

Thinking of a New Year's

Eve nine years ago.

(Clock chimes)


(Bursting balloons)

Are you happy?

- What?

- I said, are you happy?

- Don't I look it?

- You look wonderful.

- You haven't told me what you're doing now.

- Lecturing at the university.

- Have you conquered the world yet?

- What?

It doesn't matter. It's good to see you.

- Where are you? In a box?

- Up there. I must go.

Steven, it's been wonderful

seeing you again.

- Goodbye, Mary.

- Goodbye.

- Happy New Year.

- Happy New Year.

- How can I reach you?

- I'll phone you.



- Happy New Year.

Happy New Year.

I thought I'd lost you.

Happy New Year, my dear.

Happy New Year, Howard.

- Pat!

- Steven, I've been looking for you everywhere.

I'm so sorry. I got lost in the Paul Jones.

- Happy New Year, Pat, dear.

- Happy New Year.

A very happy New Year.

Should old acquaintance be forgot

And never brought to mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

For the sake of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear

For auld lang syne

We'll take a cup o' kindness yet

For the sake of auld lang syne


Do you know

the most extraordinary thing happened?

- What?

- I met Mary.

(Band strikes up)

She's here somewhere.

It's funny, isn't it,

after all these years?

Let's dance.

It's a curious sight, isn't it?

I wonder how many there are?


- It's a curious noise, too.

- Very.

They all look as if they're

suspended by invisible wires from the roof.

That makes four.

- Four what?

- Men dressed as skeletons.

One of them's dancing with a

Gainsborough lady who keeps losing her hat.

Over by the centrepiece there.

It's difficult to pick out

anybody in particular.

How was she?

Mary? She's fine.

They're in a box somewhere.

- Would you like to meet her?

- Yes, I would.

What's happened to the others?

Are they dancing?

They're trying to, I think.

Do you think we ought to go and dance

ourselves, or would you sooner watch?

- Enjoying yourself?

- Very much.

Here she is.

Steven, it's silly, but

do I have to meet her?

No, of course not.

(Horns beep)

(Horns beep)

- Hello, Mary.

- Howard, you remember Steven Stratton.

- Of course, how are you?

- How do you do?

- You don't know Miss Moore, do you?

- How do you do, Miss Moore?

- We met in New York, didn't we?

- No, Burnmoor. Five years ago.

Oh, yes, of course. Nice to see you again.

Will you excuse me?

These things get more crowded every year,

don't they?

Mary? Mary!

Can we drop you anywhere?

No, thanks, we're walking. Good night.

- Good night.

- Happy New Year.

You must dine with us sometime.

We'd love to.

Good night.

It's awful. I couldn't remember his name.

It's Justin. He's a banker.

High finance, that sort of thing.

He's terribly rich too.

He seemed very nice, I thought.

I hardly knew him.

Are they happy?

I think so.

It's the sort of life Mary wanted,

so they ought to be.

Was she very much in love with you, Steven?

I used to think so.

Anyway, she married him.

He's the biologist, isn't he?

I thought you didn't remember him.

Oh, yes, I remembered.

You didn't give that impression.

One should never let the enemy know

when he's being observed.

The enemy?

All right, then, dear. Friend.

- Enjoy yourself?

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Eric Ambler

Eric Clifford Ambler OBE (28 June 1909 – 22 October 1998) was an influential British author of thrillers, in particular spy novels, who introduced a new realism to the genre. He also worked as a screenwriter. Ambler used the pseudonym Eliot Reed for books co-written with Charles Rodda. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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