AFI Preview July 2-September 17 - page 10-11

Tickets & Full Schedule at
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July 3–September 15
Alec Guinness Centennial
April 2 marked the
centennial birthday of the
chameleonic British actor
Alec Guinness (1914–
2000), whose career
stretched from David
Lean’s 1940s Dickens
adaptations through
the heyday of British
comedies at Michael
Balcon’s Ealing Studios
in the 1950s to iconic
turns in international
blockbusters, as Prince
ARABIA (1962) and as Obi-Wan Kenobi in STAR
WARS (1977) and beyond. This summer, explore the
many faces of the great Alec Guinness in this wide-
ranging selection of some of his greatest films.
AFI Member Passes accepted at all screenings.
Thu, Jul 3, 12 noon; Tue, Jul 8, 4:30; Thu, Jul 10, 4:30
"Please sir, I want some more." Orphan Oliver Twist (John
Howard Davies, "still perhaps the most memorable and
affective Oliver yet seen on screen." –David Parker, BFI)
runs away from workhouse drudgery for life on the London
streets, exhilarating but dangerous, and falls in with a gang
of young pickpockets, including the happy-go-lucky Artful
Dodger (Anthony Newley), trained by a Mephistophelean
ringleader, the charismatic Fagin (Alec Guinness). David Lean,
working with his Oscar®-winning collaborators from GREAT
EXPECTATIONS, crafts another high-water mark in Dickens
DIR/SCR David Lean; SCR Stanley Haynes, from the novel by Charles Dickens;
PROD Ronald Neame. UK, 1948, b&w, 116 min. NOT RATED
Fri, Jul 4, 1:15; Sat, Jul 5, 1:15
David Lean's signature achievement, winning seven Oscars®
in 1962 including Best Picture, and the film that made a then-
unknown Peter O'Toole an international star (and for which
O'Toole would earn the first of his eight Oscar® nominations
for Best Actor — amazingly, none of which he won!). O'Toole
is riveting as T. E. Lawrence, the legendary British officer who
rallied the Arabs against Turkish invaders during World War
I, and Lean's film, a two-year undertaking shot entirely on
location, is one of the true masterpieces of 70mm photography.
With Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn and Omar Sharif.
DIR David
Lean; SCR Robert Bolt, Michael Wilson; PROD Sam Spiegel. UK, 1962, color, 231 min. including
15 min. intermission. RATED PG
Thu, Jul 3, 2:20; Mon, Jul 7, 4:30; Wed, Jul 9, 4:30
Orphan lad Pip (Anthony Wager) struggles to get by until an
unknown benefactor provides him a generous allowance in
David Lean’s beloved Dickens adaptation. Along the way,
there's an encounter with escaped convict Magwitch (Finlay
Currie) on the foggy moors; etiquette lessons in the crumbling
mansion of mad Miss Havisham (Martita Hunt), where he meets
the lovely but cruel Estella (Jean Simmons) and best pal Herbert
Pocket (Alec Guinness); and finally adventures in London as a
young man on the move (now played by John Mills). Nominated
for five Oscars®, with wins for Cinematography and Art
DIR/SCR David Lean; SCR Anthony Havelock-Allan, Cecil McGivern, Kay Walsh, from
the novel by Charles Dickens; SCR/PROD Ronald Neame. UK, 1946, b&w, 118 min. NOT RATED
50th Anniversary!
Sun, Jul 20, 1:00
Alec Guinness gives noble bearing to his performance as
Marcus Aurelius in Anthony Mann’s epic account of Rome’s
twilight, as Livius (Stephen Boyd) and Commodus (Christopher
Plummer) battle both each other, for control of the waning
empire, and the uppity barbarians from north of the Alps, intent
on destroying it. With Sophia Loren, James Mason and Omar
DIR Anthony Mann; SCR Ben Barzman, Basilio Franchina, Philip Yordan; PROD Samuel
Bronston. US, 1964, color, 203 min including one 15-min intermission. NOT RATED
Sat, Jul 12, 11:00 a.m.; Mon, Jul 14, 5:00;
Wed, Jul 16, 5:00, 9:00
On holiday in France, British schoolteacher John Barratt (Alec
Guinness) is stunned to meet his spitting image in Count
Jacques De Gué (Guinness again), who, for reasons of his
own, wishes Barratt to take his place. Discontented with
his lot in life, Barratt wonders what a life of privilege might
be like, but soon discovers the sordid world of upper-class
decadence, including morphine-addled dowager Countess
Bette Davis, a wife (Irene Worth) terrified the Count wants her
dead, an embezzling brother-in-law (Peter Bull) and a younger
mistress (Nicole Murray). Robert Hamer (KIND HEARTS AND
CORONETS) adapts this twisty tale of double trouble from a
novel by “Rebecca”’s Daphne du Maurier.
DIR/SCR Robert Hamer, from
the novel by Daphne du Maurier; PROD Michael Balcon. UK/US, 1959, b&w, 92 min. NOT RATED
Restored DCP!
Fri, Jul 11, 3:00; Sat, Jul 12, 1:00; Mon, Jul 14, 12:20;
Tue, Jul 15, 7:00; Wed, Jul 16, 12:20
There are eight
D’Ascoyne heirs
ahead of Louis
Mazzini (Dennis
Price) in the line
of succession
to the Chalfont
Dukedom, and
Mazzini’s methodical
makes Shakespeare’s
Richard III look like
a lazybones. And
all eight D’Ascoynes are portrayed by none other than Alec
Guinness, in a bravura display of makeup and make-believe.
Robert Hamer’s classic black comedy makes mordant, mirthful
fun of the English aristocracy. With Joan Greenwood and
Valerie Hobson.
DIR/SCR Robert Hamer; SCR John Dighton, from a novel by Roy
Horniman; PROD Michael Balcon. UK, 1949, b&w, 106 min. NOT RATED
60th Anniversary!
Sun, Jul 13, 11:10 a.m.; Mon, Jul 14, 7:00; Tue, Jul 15, 5:00;
Thu, Jul 17, 5:00
Alec Guinness dons the robes as G. K. Chesterton’s
sleuthing priest in this caper directed by KIND HEARTS AND
CORONETS’ Robert Hamer. En route from London to Rome with
the precious Cross of St. Augustine in his care, Father Brown
is robbed by the wily thief Gustave Flambeau (Peter Finch).
The clever cleric sets to solving the crime, hoping to extract a
dual confession from Flambeau and save not only the Church’s
precious relic but a soul to boot. With Joan Greenwood and
Cecil Parker.
DIR/SCR Robert Hamer; SCR Thelma Schnee, Maurice Rapf, from stories by G.
K. Chesterton; PROD Paul Finder Moss. UK, 1954, b&w, 91 min. NOT RATED
Fri, Jul 18, 5:15; Tue, Jul 22, 5:00; Thu, Jul 24, 5:00
Enchanted by a cameo of Queen Victoria, street urchin or
“mudlark” Wheeler (Andrew Ray) sneaks into Windsor Castle
to meet the great lady in person. Sequestered after the death of
her beloved Prince Albert and under heavy guard by the court,
concerned about another assassination plot, the lad’s good
cheer helps the Queen to reconnect with the world. With Irene
Dunne as Victoria and Alec Guinness as Prime Minister Benjamin
Disraeli. Based on a true story.
DIR Jean Negulesco; SCR/PROD Nunnally Johnson;
SCR from the novel by Theodore Bonnet. UK/US, 1950, b&w, 99 min. NOT RATED
65th Anniversary!
Sat, Jul 19, 11:30 a.m.; Mon, Jul 21, 5:00; Wed, Jul 23, 5:00
Singing Welsh miners David “Dai Number 9” Jones (Donald
Houston) and Thomas “Twm” Jones (Meredith Edwards) from
the hamlet of Hafoduwchbenceubwllymarchogcoch win a
trip to London sponsored by the Echo newspaper. On their
first trip to England, let alone the big city, the two plan to live
it up, causing much consternation for their minder, the paper’s
gardening columnist, Whimple (Alec Guinness).
DIR/SCR Charles
Frend; SCR Richard Hughes, Leslie Norman, Clifford Evans; PROD Michael Balcon. UK, 1949, b&w,
85 min. NOT RATED
Sat, Jul 19, 2:00; Tue, Jul 22, 7:00
Newly diagnosed with a terminal disease, quiet, unassuming
George Bird (Alec Guinness) opts to go out on a high note,
withdrawing all his savings and booking himself into a posh
hotel. Taking risks for the first time in his life, Bird’s luck now
changes, as he begins making friends with the other hotel
residents, who are intrigued by their mystery guest, falling into a
good business opportunity and even finding love. But after he’s
exhausted his bank account, Bird receives a surprising second
opinion about his prognosis.
DIR Henry Cass; SCR/PROD J. B. Priestley; PROD
Stephen Mitchell, A. D. Peters. UK, 1950, b&w, 88 min. NOT RATED
Fri, Jul 25, 5:30; Sat, Jul 26, 1:00; Tue, Jul 29, 5:15;
Thu, Jul 31, 7:00
Charles Crichton enjoyed a late-career transatlantic hit with A
FISH CALLED WANDA, but he made his reputation directing
postwar Ealing comedies, THE LAVENDER HILL MOB being
perhaps his best-loved. With no promotion in sight, Henry
Holland (Alec Guinness) is fed up after 20 years of faithful
service working as a glorified delivery man for his gold-trading
firm. Recruiting his old pal Pendlebury (Stanley Holloway), a
sculptor stuck in the tchotchke business, and two small-time
Cockney crooks, Lackery (Sidney James) and Shorty (Alfie
Bass), Holland hatches a plan to boost £1 million in gold
bullion, melted and molded into Pendlebury’s Eiffel Tower
souvenirs. Oscar® nomination for Guinness and a Best
Screenplay win for T. E. B. Clarke.
DIR Charles Crichton; SCR T. E. B. Clarke;
PROD Michael Balcon. UK, 1951, b&w, 81 min. NOT RATED
Sat, Jul 26, 11:10 a.m.; Mon, Jul 28, 5:15; Thu, Jul 31, 5:15
Amateur inventor Alec Guinness
wizards up a wondrous fabric
that can't wear out or stain. And
that's not all: this miracle-worker
manages to unite the garment
industry's ownership and labor
— in aggressive opposition to his
invention — as both sides close
ranks to discredit him as a crackpot
and destroy his formula before it
destroys their livelihood. Director
Alexander Mackendrick would
later go on to his biggest success
in Hollywood with an even more
acid-drenched film, noir classic SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS.
DIR/SCR Alexander Mackendrick; SCR Roger MacDougall, John Dighton; PROD Michael Balcon. UK,
1951, b&w, 85 min. NOT RATED
Sat, Aug 9, 6:15; Wed, Aug 13, 7:00
Facing a firing squad, Gibraltar ferryboat captain Henry St.
James (Alec Guinness) reminisces about how good he had it
when he was living large in blessed bigamy: domestic bliss
with homebody wife Maude (BRIEF ENCOUNTER’s Celia
Johnson) on the European side, and nonstop nightlife in North
Africa with vivacious spouse Nita (Yvonne De Carlo). But the
delicate equilibrium of Henry’s situation becomes upset when
Maude becomes restless for more excitement, and Nita gets a
hankering to settle down.
DIR/PROD Anthony Kimmins; SCR Alec Coppel, Nicholas
Phipps. UK, 1953, b&w, 94 min. NOT RATED
Restored DCP!
Sun, Jul 27, 11:10 a.m.; Tue, Jul 29, 9:00
Criminal mastermind — in his own mind, at least — Alec
Guinness poses as a mild-mannered music professor in order to
rent a room from sweet little old lady Katie Johnson. Her home
makes the perfect hideout for his eccentric gang of thieves —
including pre-PINK PANTHER Peter Sellers and Herbert Lom
— who gather there under the guise of string quartet practice.
Guinness and the gang make their big score, but does the
dotty old bird know too much? And will she sing? “A grotesque
fantasy of murder…extravagantly funny.” –Pauline Kael.
DIR Alexander
Mackendrick; SCR William Rose; PROD Michael Balcon. UK, 1955, color, 91 min. NOT RATED
Sun, Aug 3, 11:30 a.m.; Tue, Aug 5, 7:30
Having worked his way up from boy piper to Major in the
Highland Guards, and served as acting commander of his
regiment during WWII, clever Jock Sinclair (Alec Guinness) has
come up in the world from his lowborn beginnings. Strange,
then, to find conflict in peacetime, and within his own beloved
army, when bureaucratic Col. Basil Barrow (John Mills), a
martinet and unapologetic snob, takes command. A matter of
family honor involving Sinclair’s daughter (Susannah York) leads to
a battle of wits and a battle of wills between the two men. With
Dennis Price, Kay Walsh and Gordon Jackson.
DIR Ronald Neame; SCR
James Kennaway, from his novel; PROD Colin Lesslie. US/UK, 1960, color, 106 min. NOT RATED
Fri, Aug 1, 5:10; Mon, Aug 4, 7:30;
Wed, Aug 6, 5:15
Alec Guinness chews the scenery
in this comic romp as free-spirited,
strong-willed painter Gulley Jimson,
for whom all the world is a canvas
to cover, and all people potential
buyers, patrons or assistants. Two
Oscar® nominations for Guinness,
for both Best Actor and Screenplay.
DIR/PROD Ronald Neame; SCR Alec Guinness, from
the novel by Joyce Cary; PROD John Bryan. UK, 1958,
color, 97 min. NOT RATED
Sat, Aug 2, 11:00 a.m.; Wed, Aug 6, 7:20; Thu, Aug 7, 5:15
Young man on the make Denry Machin (Alec Guinness) wheels
and deals his way up in the world, bending the rules when
he’s not outright breaking them. He becomes smitten with fellow
opportunist Ruth Earp (Glynis Johns), but, after learning the hard
way that business and pleasure don’t mix, finds new love with
good-hearted Nellie Cotterill (Petula Clark).
DIR Ronald Neame; SCR Eric
Ambler, from the novel by Arnold Bennett; PROD John Bryan. UK, 1952, b&w, 85 min. NOT RATED
Fri, Aug 8, 5:15; Mon, Aug 11, 7:00
Debut film by Peter Glenville, who also directed the West End
stage sensation, with Alec Guinness reprising his role as a
stalwart cardinal standing up to persecution in an unnamed
eastern European Communist regime. Thrown into jail,
Guinness is interrogated and cajoled by party apparatchik Jack
Hawkins, his ally just a few years ago when they both sought to
undermine their pro-fascist government during WWII. Based on
the real-life case of Hungarian cardinal Mindszenty, persecuted
by both the Nazis and the Communists.
DIR Peter Glenville; SCR Bridget
Boland, from her play; PROD Vivian Cox. UK, 1955, b&w, 91 min. NOT RATED
Sat, Aug 16, 2:00; Tue, Aug 19, 6:30
"Madness…madness." Burma, 1943: ordered by Japanese
prison camp commandant Sessue Hayakawa to construct a
bridge, British POW Colonel Alec Guinness at first refuses but
then acquiesces, reasoning that the undertaking will provide
a morale boost for his men. But in his obsession with detail
and pride in his work, Guinness loses sight of the fact that the
bridge will serve a deadly purpose — the transport of Japanese
munitions. It falls to American escapee William Holden and
British Major Jack Hawkins to lead a mission back to the camp
to destroy Guinness' folly. A powerful portrait of war and
madness, and winner of seven Oscars® including Best Picture,
Best Director and Best Actor for Guinness.
DIR David Lean; SCR Carl
Foreman, Michael Wilson, from the Pierre Boulle novel “Le pont de la rivière Kwaï”; PROD Sam
Spiegel. UK/US, 1957, color, 161 min. RATED PG
Sat, Aug 23, 4:30; Wed, Aug 27, 9:20
Free of the stereotypical screen bombast unavoidably
associated with Hitler, Alec Guinness’ portrayal of the
Führer during his grim final days in the bunker is instead an
understated portrait of ordinary madness, a miserable man
who authored monstrous deeds and whose imagined world
is now all too really crashing down around him. Directed by
prolific screenwriter Ennio De Concini, an Oscar®-winner for
DIR/SCR Ennio De Concini; SCR Maria Pia Fusco, from a
book by Gerhardt Boldt; SCR/PROD Wolfgang Reinhardt; PROD John Heyman. UK/Italy, 1973,
color, 108 min. RATED PG
Sun, Aug 24, 4:20; Tue, Aug 26, 7:00
King Charles I (Alec Guinness) matches wits and eventually
armies with upstart Puritan Parliamentarian Oliver Cromwell
(Richard Harris) in Ken Hughes’ lavishly appointed (Oscar®
winner for Best Costumes), slightly one-sided account of the
English Civil War. With Robert Morley and Timothy Dalton.
SCR Ken Hughes; PROD Irving Allen. US/UK, 1970, color, 139 min. RATED G
Courtesy: Everett Collection
Courtesy of Sony Pictures
Courtesy of Rialto Pictures
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Courtesy of Sony Pictures
Courtesy United Artists
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