Classic films also have their place at Mostly British. Fans of James Mason take note, as both Carol Reed's 1947 noir Odd Man Out (starring Mason as an imperiled IRA agent) and Sidney Lumet's 1966 espionage drama The Deadly Affair will screen. The latter features a sweet Quincy Jones bossa nova score — so incongruous to the setting and action it's both distracting and awesome — and a blustering turn by Mason as a spy whose job woes are eclipsed only by the anguish he feels over his cheatin' wife. All kinds of juicy Cold War intrigue in this one: code names, suspicious deaths, mysterious postcards, and bag-switching plots, plus stellar supporting turns by Harry Andrews as a tough guy (who also loves bunnies), and fading sexpot Simone Signoret as a secretive Holocaust survivor.
Another pair of oldies well worth revisiting, or seeing for the first time, are included in Mostly British's David Lean double feature, which also happens to be a double feature for star Celia Johnson. In 1944 family drama This Happy Breed — as plot-twisty, character-stuffed, and entertaining as a soap opera, and shot in color to boot — she's the brow-furrowed matriarch of a working-class family that tumbles through the decades between World Wars I and II. In 1945's lusciously black-and-white Brief Encounter, she's a lonely housewife who rediscovers desire after a chance meeting with an also-married doctor (Trevor Howard). Speaking of doomed romances, Johnson's Oscar-nominated performance is a major reason why this film has become such a classic of that genre. *
MOSTLY BRITISH FILM FESTIVAL
Jan. 17-24, $12.50-$35 (festival pass, $99)
3290 Sacramento, SF