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1950, Janus Films, 88 min, UK, Dir: Henry Cass

A mistake at the doctor’s office leaves George Bird (Alec Guinness) convinced he has only weeks to live. Determined to enjoy his final days, the humble salesman checks into a ritzy hotel, whose elite residents – unaware of Bird’s diagnosis - soon embrace him as one of their own. With Bernard Lee and Wilfrid Hyde-White.

1954, Sony Repertory, 91 min, UK, Dir: Robert Hamer

Alec Guinness portrays G. K. Chesterton’s mild-mannered but very shrewd detective Father Brown. Pursuing dapper jewel thief Flambeau (Peter Finch) through England and France, Brown is as eager to save the man’s soul as he is to recover the loot. Constantly amusing, with a formidable cast that also includes Joan Greenwood and Bernard Lee (M in the early Bond films) as a police inspector whose patience is sorely tested by the amateur sleuth cleric. “The near-sighted priest, who learns the secrets of unarmed combat from some of the tougher members of his flock, is admirably brought to life by Guinness. His performance, good though it is, does not overshadow a first-class thesping job by Peter Finch as the international thief who likes to collect the rare treasures he cannot afford.” -Variety

1959, Warner Bros., 91 min, UK, USA, Dir: Robert Hamer

Director Robert Hamer and Gore Vidal adapted Daphne du Maurier’s novel for this intriguing mystery, and du Maurier herself suggested Alec Guinness for the dual lead roles of British teacher John Barratt and French nobleman Jacques De Gué, look-alikes who meet by chance and spend a night drinking together. When Barratt awakes, his passport is gone and he’s plunged into De Gué’s convoluted private life - which includes a wealthy wife (Irene Worth) and an imperious mother (Bette Davis). Guinness played multiple parts in Hamer’s KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS and, as in that earlier film, royal titles and murder figure into the plot.

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