Father Brown (film)
Father Brown (The Detective in the United States, also marketed as Father Brown – Detective) is a 1954 British mystery comedy film, starring Alec Guinness as the title character, with Joan Greenwood and Peter Finch. Like the American film Father Brown, Detective (1934), it is based loosely on "The Blue Cross" (1910), the first Father Brown short story by G. K. Chesterton.
|Directed by||Robert Hamer|
|Produced by||Paul Finder Moss|
|Edited by||Gordon Hales|
|Music by||Georges Auric|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
The police raid a premises at night and find a priest at an open safe: he explains he is replacing the money for a parishioner. He is arrested and put in the cells but released when the bishop confirms who he is. Outside he meets the erring parishioner Bert (Sid James) and convinces him to be a chauffeur to Lady Warren rather than drive get-away cars.
He sails to France then catches a train. The first stop is Paris. He is accompanied by a priest he met on the ship. As they sit in a cafe they are aware that two policemen are watching. They wait until there are only two seats left on an excursion bus then grab it, leaving the police stranded. The two police get a lift in the back of a police van with a group of prostitutes.
The excursion goes to the catacombs. There they separate from the group. Father Brown has worked out that the priest is Flambeau as he ordered a ham sandwich (on a Friday). Nevertheless Flambeau overpowers him and steals the cross, leaving Brown tied against a pile of bones. Flambeau changes disguise and gets past the two police who wait at the entrance.
Father Brown convinces his friend, Lady Warren, to auction an important gold chess set to lure Flambeau into stealing it. They expect him to appear in disguise at the auction. He does, but not as a bidder: Flambeau is the porter who carries the set out of the room after bidding concludes. But Flambeau returns the set to Lady Warren to prove a point. When the police arrive at the door Flambeau and Brown remove all the milk from the back of a milk van to make it look as if they needed the space. This diversion makes the police follow the van and Brown and Flambeau escape.
Brown starts researching Flambeau in the library (breaking his glasses in this task) and finds a link to Fleurency in the Burgundy region of France. He then goes there. At a wine festival he finds Flambeau but Flambeau slips away. The next day he finds the old chateau and asks for "the duke". He is told he is not home. He slips into the inner courtyard disguised as an old woman on a cart of grapes.
On entering the chateau he finds signs of habitation but the chateau is ruinous. He discovers a secret door in the back of the big kitchen fireplace and Flambeau asks him to enter. Inside he has a priceless art collection. He gives Brown the stolen cross. The police arrive and Flambeau flees through the window. His art collection is retrieved by the police and displayed in the Louvre.
Back in England Father Brown gives a sermon on the prodigal son. Flambeau enters and sits next to Lady Warren.
- Alec Guinness as Father Brown
- Joan Greenwood as Lady Warren
- Peter Finch as Gustav Flambeau
- Cecil Parker as The Bishop
- Bernard Lee as Inspector Valentine
- Sid James as Bert Parkinson
- Gérard Oury as Inspector Dubois
- Ernest Clark as Bishop's Secretary
- Aubrey Woods as Charlie
- John Salew as Station sergeant
- Sam Kydd as Scotland Yard sergeant
- John Horsley as Inspector Wilkins
- Ernest Thesiger as Vicomte de Verdigris
- Jack McNaughton as Railway Guard
- Noel Howlett as Auctioneer
- Marne Maitland as Maharajah
- Austin Trevor as The Herald
- Hugh Dempster as Man in bowler hat
- Eugene Deckers as French Cavalry Officer
- Daniel Clérice as Garagiste
- Everley Gregg as Governess
It is based on G. K. Chesterton's Father Brown character and was directed by Robert Hamer. The screenplay adaptation is based loosely on the Father Brown story, "The Blue Cross". Although credited to Thelma Schnee and Hamer, it was actually co-written by Schnee and blacklisted screenwriter Maurice Rapf.
Variety said the film was, "distinguished mainly by the excellent casting of Alec Guinness in the title role". The New York Times found it "a leisurely, good-humored film." Leonard Maltin called it "another British gem, superbly cast".
Awards and nominationsEdit
- 1954: Nominated, "Golden Lion Award" - Robert Hamer
- The Detective (1954), retrieved 18 May 2020
- "Father Brown (1954)".
- Rapf, Maurice (1999). Back Lot: Growing Up with the Movies. Scarecrow Press. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-8108-3583-2.
- "Father Brown". Variety. 31 December 1953. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
- Crowther, Bosley (2 November 1954). "Movie Review - Father Brown - The Screen in Review; Alec Guinness Stars in 'The Detective'". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
- "The Detective (1988) - Overview - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies.