The Horse's Mouth (1958)
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as Gully Jimson
as Sarah Monday
as Sir William Beeder
as Lady Beeder
as Capt. Jones
Critic Reviews for The Horse's Mouth
It smacks more of an Ealing low-brow whimsical comedy than anything more artistic.
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Audience Reviews for The Horse's Mouth
A great portrayal of artistic genius/madness. Doing the film as a comedy is probably what makes most of whats being said about the impossibility of artistic fulfillment more palatable. Guinness' performance is perfection.
Alec Guinness out does himself in this comic slice of life of an all out artist visionary, ever on the lookout for his next drink, woman, or blank wall space ... and perhaps in just that order as well. Over-the-top, loud, and rambunctious, and that's before he's out of bed in the morning, his friends struggle to understand him while everyone else gazes on in sheer disbelief. A bit o'fun from England, and written by Guinness as well.
This bittersweet comedy, scripted by and starring Alec Guinness, came very warmly recommended, and it didn't disappoint. I suppose it could be described as one of the best films Ealing never made. Guinness is brilliant as Gulley Jimson, an eccentric, uncompromising artist in search of the perfect 'canvas' to do justice to his vision, and Guinness' own literate screenplay is good enough to make me wish he'd written a few more. The film is generally excellent, but I did occasionally catch myself wondering whether Alexander Mackendrick (Whisky Galore!, The Man in the White Suit, The Ladykillers) might have made something even more special out of it, had he directed instead of Ronald Neame. One of the things I most enjoyed about The Horse's Mouth was the look of the film, especially the location photography: the duffel-coats, the double-deckers, the drabness of suburbia; as an incidental snapshot of a time and place, for some reason it reminded me of Michael Powell's Peeping Tom. There are some very enjoyable character performances, particularly Renee Houston as Jimson's sweetly devious ex-wife and Kay Walsh as his abrasive but kindhearted female friend. Mike Morgan, who plays Gulley's devoted follower, Nosey, died of meningitis before the film was completed!
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