The Horse's Mouth (1958)

Approved  |   |  Comedy  |  11 November 1958 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 2,482 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 5 wins & 5 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
Reginald Beckwith ...
Capt. Jones
Gillian Vaughan ...


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?


One day director Neame found Guinness sulking in his dressing room, refusing to come to the set. According to Neame, Guinness felt he hadn't been stroked enough and explained, "Actors are emotionally 14-year-olds. We need to be chastised like children, and we need to be hugged and told we're doing fine work. We are the children who never grow up." 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 »


Sara Monday: [Introduces Jimson to Dicky] This is Mr. Jimson. He's an artist.
Gulley Jimson: Since when?
Sara Monday: [to Dicky] You've never seen a real artist before, have you?
Constable: [Dicky sticks out tongue to Jimson]
Gulley Jimson: You've got the right idea, son. Why don't you bite me? That's the way to treat strangers. Make them respect you.
See more »


References The Czar Wants to Sleep (1934) See more »


Lieutenant Kije
by Sergei Prokofiev (as Prokofieff)
Arranged by Kenneth V. Jones
Conducted by Muir Mathieson
See more »

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User Reviews

a movie that improved after a second time
1 July 2005 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Although most Americans have little knowledge of his work other than Star Wars, Alec Guinness produced an amazing body of work--particularly in the 1940s-1950s--ranging from dramas to quirky comedies. I particularly love his comedies, as they are so well-done and seem so natural and real on the screen--far different from the usual fare from Hollywood.

I first saw this movie when I was about 13 or so, and didn't appreciate it very much. Years later, when I became fascinated with Guinness' comedies, I decided to give it another chance. And boy am I glad I did!! The movie concerns the life of an extremely edgy and rather nasty artist. Guinness really plays this up and creates one of the quirkiest and funniest characters I have ever seen. In essence, the man is a rascal that is driven to create his art regardless of what it takes to get it done! What I missed the first time I saw the film were the extremely catchy music and the amazing art created for this movie. I am not the biggest fan of modern art, but the second time i saw the movie I really liked most of the works done for the movie--it just was a darn shame that much of it was destroyed in the course of the movie! In addition to music and art, the performances throughout of all the actors was nearly perfect.

Finally, the version of the movie I saw last was from the Criterion Collection. Get this version!!!! It had so much wonderful background information about the actual art, the making of the movie, and interesting background information--such as how they got the musical score WITHOUT having to pay royalties and the incredibly sad tale of a magnificent performance by a young supporting actor that did not live to see the finished product.

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

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