David Lean’s tale of Oirish infidelity got such a critical drubbing it took him more than 10 years to get back behind the camera. With hindsight the Doctor Zhivago director didn’t merit such a kicking. Still, while there’s much to admire in Robert Bolt’s script and the star-studded cast, the slim story simply doesn’t warrant his blockbuster treatment.
Sarah Miles suffers in style as the comely lass playing around behind the back of stuffed-shirt schoolmaster Robert Mitchum. But Christopher Jones is a disaster as her British soldier lover (a fact even the director acknowledged), while the late John Mills’ Oscar-winning turn as the mute village idiot is frankly hard to stomach.
The years have dated this slender yarn, which comes across now as a Mills & Boon bodice-ripper crossed with Father Ted.