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AN ENGLISHMAN ABROAD

UK, 1983 (MIFF 1984)

Director: John Schlesinger

Dramatic reconstruction of a true incident when Australian actress Coral Browne (playing herself) was in Moscow with a production of "Hamlet". She was visited backstage by Guy Burgess, the upper-class Englishman who caused a scandal during the 1950s when he fled to Russia rather than face a charge of treason for supplying Britain's secrets to its ideological enemy.

Burgess invited Browne to lunch. The dramatisation of their encounter reveals him as a poignant figure: lonely, disillusioned, he misses English life yet knows he can never return; he tries, not very successfully, to "make the best of things". Bates is superb, the dialogue is tart and witty; the film as a whole is a modest delight.

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