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The Horse's Mouth - Criterion Collection
The Horse's Mouth - Criterion Collection
Actors: Alec Guinness, Kay Walsh, Renee Houston, Mike Morgan, Robert Coote
Directors: D.A. Pennebaker, Ronald Neame
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy
UR     2002     1hr 35min

In Ronald Neame's film of Joyce Cary's classic novel, Alec Guinness transforms himself into one of cinema's most indelible comic figures: the lovably scruffy painter Gulley Jimson. As the ill-behaved Jimson searches for a ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Alec Guinness, Kay Walsh, Renee Houston, Mike Morgan, Robert Coote
Directors: D.A. Pennebaker, Ronald Neame
Creators: Alec Guinness, D.A. Pennebaker, Ronald Neame, Albert Fennell, John Bryan, Joyce Cary
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Classic Comedies
Studio: Criterion
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
DVD Release Date: 06/04/2002
Original Release Date: 11/11/1958
Theatrical Release Date: 11/11/1958
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 35min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 17
Edition: Criterion Collection
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

How To Out Bluff A Film Buff
Jonathan P. Walters | 08/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If a film buff askes you to name a classic film you realy like you can do no worse than to answer "The Horse's Mouth". Try to suppress a smile as the buff looks at first puzzled and then cautiously admits that they have never heard of let alone seen that movie so can it be that good?Well actually yes it is explain to them then casually mention that it is the only film that Alec Guinness ever wrote a screenplay for and that he gained an Academy Award nomination for his trouble and that in his "Parkinson" interview in 1977 he almost (but not quite) admitted that it was his favourite film in his long career.Then you can go on to tell that it is one of the few films from the 1950's that shows London in colour and the music adapted from Sergei Prokofieff's "Lieutenant Kije" gives the film a touch of class and a unique sense of style not to be found in other films of the period.You may then mention that the acting is superb; as well as Guinness' faultless study of an obsessive and slightly desturbed artist Gulley Jimson. Kay Walsh(Mrs. David Lean)adds humour and pathos as Miss Coker the comugenly woman who none the less has a soft spot for Jimson and music hall turn Renee Houston as Sara Munday (Gulley's ex-wife) adds a bit of bawdy fun to the proceedings. Young actor Mike Morgan gives an energetic perfomance all the more sad because he died before the film's release.As the discussion continues you may point out that there are a few technical problems; the original three strip Technicolour camaras were so heavy, with their sound blimps, that the camera doesn't move that much during dialoge shots but that makes the actors move more especially when Gulley and Coker are escaping from the police . Also because the film was assembled onto one roll of negative (a common practice in British films until the 1960's )the dissolves are a bit klunky. But any discerning viewer will forgive such imperfections like the bullet holes in a Jimson painting.You can then round off your discourse by stating that the end of the film, when Jimson sets sail in his wreck of a boat (a metaphor for his own body?), to find something new to paint is sublime.Then if the film buff is still a bit bemused you can tell them that there is an excellent DVD of the film including an interview with director Ronald Neame and a D.A. Pennebacker Short that accompanied the film on it's original release from Criterion and that no serious DVD collection should be with out it and that comes, as they say, from the horse's mouth."
Should be available!
Robert Morris | 08/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I guess I missed a chance to buy this wonderful movie, but with the passing of the great Sir Alec, maybe it will be reissued. I watched this on a foreign flick channel in Milwaukee when I was in 7th or 8th grade--every night for 5 nights! I do believe the effects were permanent and profound-- from my middle class reality I saw another way of looking at the world that was closer to mine than my classmates and family. I learned the music, played it for my orchestra teacher who identified it and became a Prokofiev devotee to boot! Read the book in HS. See It! The public participation mural part is great!"
A knock-out piece of comedy dialogue
John R. Bridell | Minneapolis, MN USA | 10/09/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a well-made video; good sound, good clarity, good color. The comedy, should be required viewing for every aspiring fine arts painter. It portrays "the artist" as he is measured through the supporting cast; his affluent benefactor, his ex-wife, the adoring teen-aged-would-be artist, an antagonist sculptor, a market-minded Tate Gallery, and more, all making up a host of foils for Guiness the drunk, poetry quoting, oil painter of rawhide nudes. The dialogue gets on a fast track--I don't want to give away the plot, but "What does this review say to you?""
Fantastic Film, Exemplary DVD
T. W. | Northeastern United States | 09/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Gulley Jimson is an unappreciated painter, loopily passionate about his art, and defiantly inured to the rigors of poverty & the fear of giving offense."The Horse's Mouth" wears its 45 years effortlessly. We are fortunate that Alec Guinness poured his unique talents into imagining the genius of this comic character, getting it down as a screenplay, and rendering so inspired a performance. The result defies imitation. Intelligent viewers will find the comedy as delightfully quick as it must have been when it was first shown.The Criterion Collection DVD has preserved the Technicolor gorgeously. We are spared the customary tedium of "DVD filler" but given a wonderful short interview with director Ronald Neame."