The Detective (1954)
"Father Brown" (original title)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  1 November 1954 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 775 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 4 critic

Works of art are disappearing, stolen by a master thief, a master of disguise. Father Brown has two goals: to catch the thief and to save his soul.



(stories), (adaptation), 3 more credits »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lady Warren
Cecil Parker ...
The Bishop
Sidney James ...
Bert Parkinson
Gérard Oury ...
Inspector Dubois
Ernest Clark ...
Bishop's Secretary
Aubrey Woods ...
John Salew ...
Station Sergeant
Sam Kydd ...
Scotland Yard Sergeant
John Horsley ...
Inspector Wilkins
Jack McNaughton ...
Railway Guard
Hugh Dempster ...
Train Passenger in Bowler
Eugene Deckers ...
French Cavalry Officer


Amateur detective Father Ignatius Brown defies his Bishop and decides to transport to Rome a holy relic from his church - a cross that once belonged to St. Augustin - rather than allow the more elaborate plans to proceed. On the channel crossing he becomes suspicious of a fellow traveler, a Mr Dobson, whom Brown quickly determines is not the automobile salesman he claims to be. He does befriend another priest whom he takes into his confidence but soon realizes that his suspicions should have been reversed. The fake priest is in fact Gustave Flambeau a professional art thief and an expert at disguise. After he gets away with the cross, Brown refuses to work with the police, insisting that he wants to save the man's soul, not put him in prison. With the assistance of his friend Lady Warren, Father Brown sets a trap for Flambeau but Brown realizes that his work is only just beginning. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


An open and shut case of Guinness! Up to his EARS in chaos...Up to his NECK in laughs


Comedy | Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 November 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Detective  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Alec Guinness was spotted in costume when walking home through the French countryside. A young boy ran up to him, yelling "Mon père! Mon père!" ("My father! My father!") Guinness did not speak French, so he could not correct the young boy's mistake, but was touched that the young boy apparently immediately bonded to him on the assumption that he was a priest. Soon after the film was released, Guinness converted to Catholicism. See more »


In the stained-glass window behind the (catholic) bishop, there is a portrait of Henry VIII (second from left). Given that Henry was the first king to oppose the pope and separate the Church of England from the catholic church, his face would never be tolerated in this place. See more »


Inspector Valentine: [after failing to commandeer a taxi with a couple kissing in the back] Don't the police in France come before a pair of lovers?
Inspector Dubois: In Paris, on a warm afternoon? I'm afraid not.
See more »


Remake of Father Brown, Detective (1934) See more »

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User Reviews

An Underrated Guinness Gem
14 January 2003 | by (San Francisco) – See all my reviews

This is another of the often ignored 'small' Guinness films from the early and mid-50's that rarely get the attention they deserve. While it had a brief revival last fall at Britain's National Film Theatre, it doesn't seem to show up that often in Guinness retrospectives.

A number of elements in this gently comic film that are worthy of notice: Sir AlecÕs performance is deft, subtle and delightfully wry whether he is playing the sleuth or spouting philosophy to the villain Flambeau.

An added treat is a cast that includes Peter Finch, who won an Oscar for Network, Joan Greenwood, who was Lady Balleston in Tom Jones and Bernard Lee who portrayed M in the James Bond series. Guinness, Greenwood and Cecil Parker (The Bishop) also appeared together in the Ealing Studio comedy, The Man in the White Suit.

Another interesting aspect is that a large part of the film was shot on location in Paris and rural France, apparently a rarity for the British films of that era.

Finally a bit of trivia: After his portrayal of Father Brown, Guinness converted to Catholicism

24 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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