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

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  1 November 1954 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 713 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 3 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.

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(stories), (adaptation), 3 more credits »
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Cast

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 ...
Charlie
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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 November 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Detective  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Father Brown: A simple but effective ruse, taught me by one of the lambs in my flock.
Flambeau: A strange flock.
Father Brown: Oh, not strange, just human. Albert was a dear fellow. Where do you think he is now?
Flambeau: In prison.
Father Brown: In a monastery. Life is full of surprises, isn't it?
Flambeau: One never dreams how full.
See more »

Connections

Version of Pater Brown (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

Underfilmed Sleuth

Of all the names in the pantheon of great literary detectives, G. K. Chesterton's Father Brown is easily the most overlooked. The character has appeared in only a handful of films and a 13 episode television series in the early seventies. Of the films, The Detective(US title) is the best. Alec Guinness plays the affable cleric with an insatiable appetite for puzzles very nicely. Guinness shows us the heart and dedication Father Brown has to his calling spiritually over any temporal considerations. He also shows us that Father Brown is a character with depth as he takes lessons in karate and truly learns what the lives of his less than well-off parishioners are like. The heart of this film is Gunness's subtle comedic performance as a man challenging himself to catch a thief named Flambeau in the act of stealing his own church's cross that belonged to St. Augustine. Father Brown wants to save the soul of this man as well as the cross. The cat and mouse game between the two is fun fluff, and is vastly entertaining as that rather than a true mystery. Flambeau is played by a very young Peter Finch with class and style.The film boasts a fine array of British character actors with the likes of Bernard Lee(M from James Bond fame), Cecil Parker(King Roderick from The Court Jester and more), Joan Greenwood(Kind Hearts and Coronets), and my personal favourite, Ernest Thesiger from The Bride of Frankenstein. Thesiger has little screen time yet is very amusing in his role. A nice little mystery once again showcasing the comedic talent of one of our century's best actors...Sir Alec Guinness.


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