It's Thursday, October 1st 2009 and the weather is fine. Beautiful in fact. So I'm off for a stroll to another part of Mellerstain. Neglected by many, mainly because it is unknown to most visitors, and quite a few others.
Part of Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto plays gently in the background. This music, like so many other pieces, always relaxes me. As you know, it was used in that old romantic film "Brief Encounter".
I count this film as a classic now. I must have seen it at least ten times and never tire of it. Why is this? Yes, I heard you ask that question; a very good question. Well, Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson are just superb in this old 1945 black and white movie. And I just love old railway stations! Especially this old-fashioned railway buffet, complete with a haughty-ish barmaid and cafeteria assistant; Stanley Holloway as the protective railway porter. It's all so nostalgic for me and many others.
In 1945 David Lean filmed this romantic classic at Carnforth railway station. Filming took place at night between 10pm and 6am to avoid interfering with daytime trains. Carnforth was later reduced to a branch station and gradually crumbled into disrepair.
A project started in 2000, jointly with Railtrack, and about three years later the Brief Encounter Refreshment Room and Visitor Centre opened in late 2003. One fine day I shall make it to this place. Have a cup of tea, or maybe a beer (if they're licensed) and just imagine Trevor and Celia being at a nearby table.
Trevor Howard was not too pleased however. He made many other films of course but he was reputed to be annoyed that Brief Encounter was the film he is always associated with. He's one of my top ten actors, along with James Mason (whose voice is immediately recognised), Richard Burton - especially his rendition of Dylan Thomas's excrutiatingly wonderful "Under Milk Wood".
However, 'Brief Encounter' will grow in stature, imo, as the years go by and movies become ever more car-chase, car-crash, special effects and all the other modern methods of movie making with acting slipping into the background in so many films today.