Brian McFarlane
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in The never-ending Brief Encounter
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By ‘quoting’ from the film is meant that scenes from the 1945 black-and-white classic are inserted into the films’ narratives or, in the case of The History Boys, the last moments of Brief Encounter are acted out by some film-mad schoolboys. When Lean’s film is being quoted, there is discussion about which excerpts are inserted into the new film – and just how the chosen excerpt bears on the rest of the film. This chapter considers the specific episodes ‘quoted’ in the relevant films, the point in the narrative of the film concerned at which such episodes are glimpsed on screens large or small, and how this quotation reflects on the moments of its insertion. It can even be used for comedy, as in The History Boys or the TV series Shameless.

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