The Astonished Heart

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Intriguingly schematic account (based on Coward's own playlet) of a psychiatrist's sexual obsession with a good-time girl (Leighton), and the effect it has on his devoted, self-denying, sexless wife (Johnson) as it ultimately drives him to self-destruct by throwing himself off a high building. In its way it crystallises and criticises the conventional attitudes towards sex prevalent throughout British cinema in the immediate post-war period, and which Fisher was to turn upside-down in his vampire movies, where the neurotic female altruism represented here by Celia Johnson is transformed by the cathartic presence of Dracula into ravening sexuality.

Release details

Duration: 89 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Terence Fisher, Antony Darnborough
Screenwriter: Noel Coward
Cast: Noël Coward
Celia Johnson
Margaret Leighton
Joyce Carey
Graham Payn
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