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The Horse's Mouth (1958)

Approved  |   |  Comedy  |  11 November 1958 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 2,466 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 28 critic

A somewhat vulgar but dedicated painter searches for the perfect realization of his artistic vision, much to the chagrin of others.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Kay Walsh ...
Dee Coker
Renee Houston ...
Sara Monday
Mike Morgan ...
Robert Coote ...
Sir William Beeder
Arthur Macrae ...
A.W. Alabaster
Veronica Turleigh ...
Lady Beeder
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Gulley Jimson is broke, difficult, conniving, uncouth, and a welcher - but an artist. The visions in his head may not really satisfy him when realized, but the quest continues, for the perfect wall. The Beeders leave for six weeks of vacation and return to find a 7000 pound committment and the wall of their living room a national treasure, even though living with a wall mural of feet is not their cup of tea. Then - in a bombed out church scheduled for demolition - THE wall that can become his vision. Written by Bruce Cameron <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

11 November 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un genio anda suelto  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Guinness felt that an educated accent for Gully Jimson would be suited to an artist but was not right for an eccentric. "So I tried to find a voice in which no one would be able to detect an accent of any sort, a kind of gritty, rough manner of speaking. When I found it, I felt myself free to just relax on that and say the lines as they came." See more »


(at around 12 mins) Gully Simson is served a pint of beer in the pub. The amount of beer in the glass varies inconsistently in subsequent shots. See more »


Nosey: My bike! Bring it back. My bike!
Man in the Street 1: Stop, thief! Stop, thief!
Man in the Street 2: Stop, thief!
Man in the Street 1: Stop, thief! Stop, thief!
Bobby: [Blows his whistle]
Nosey: No, no no. It's all right. He's - he's a not a theif. He's a friend of mine.
Bobby: You start yelling "stop, thief" at innocent people...
Nosey: I never did.
Bobby: ...and you'll find yourself in hot water. Now, be off with you. And pull your socks up.
See more »


Referenced in Curious George (2006) See more »


Lieutenant Kije
by Sergei Prokofiev (as Prokofieff)
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User Reviews

Too Neglected
11 November 2004 | by (New Jersey) – See all my reviews

My late wife, an artist, loved this film, and it gave me such insights into the way her mind worked. Guiness is wonderful; for once we see many levels of the character he portrays. Kay Walsh is so touching as the woman in his life, while Mike Morgan makes the perfect art groupie. It's funny to see Dr. Pastorious in old age; he has barely changed since Bride of Frankenstein.

The humor is gentle and quiet except for the studio renovation scene, but it is when Gully stands in front of a canvas that the truth of this film comes out. His almost soliloquy on the human foot; the scene where he shrugs and says that was not what he was trying to say, after he has ruined the toff's wall, these are priceless and our entry into an artist's mind. When the houseboat sets sail down the Thames, to the comment about the sea by the looney who pipes Gully aboard is a bit of perfection set on celluloid. He stands there, framing a vision of another canvas on the hull of a freighter, while reciting this wonderful doggerel that I always get mixed up when I try to say it, and all the while Nosey and Sara spur him on. I've never read the book and wonder if this represents his death, but I take from it what I will.

One other thought: there are certain films shot on location that should be filed away as time/place documentaries. This one is a perfect example: London 1958.

36 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Who was the artist Jimson is based on? Meryllevykryza
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Inconclusive ending (possible spolilers) tomrfbook
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