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The Missionary (1982)

R | | Comedy | 5 November 1982 (USA)
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1:35 | Trailer

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In 1905, after 10 years of missionary work in Africa, the Rev. Charles Fortesque is recalled to England, where his bishop gives him his new assignment - to minister to London's prostitutes.... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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The Reverend Fitzbanks
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Ada
Valerie Whittington ...
Emmeline
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Lord Fermleigh
Rosamund Greenwood ...
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Parswell
Neil Innes ...
Singer in Gin Palace
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Old Man outside Hotel
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Storyline

In 1905, after 10 years of missionary work in Africa, the Rev. Charles Fortesque is recalled to England, where his bishop gives him his new assignment - to minister to London's prostitutes. Charles hopes Deborah, his fiancee, will object and give him an excuse to say no to the bishop. But she is so imperturbably innocent that she totally fails to understand what he is being asked to do, and urges him to do his best. Wealthy Lady Ames is expected to fund the work, but once she makes it clear to Charles that there will be no contribution unless he shares her bed... Written by James Barrett <jbarrett@sbastk.ess.sunysb.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When you have a fiancée, a lover and you have to lead 25 women of the night down the path of righteousness.; you must pray for more than guidance, you must pray for strength. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

5 November 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A misszionárius  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,864,852, 7 November 1982, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$7,241,180
See more on IMDbPro »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sets built for the film included a period gymnasium whilst a run-down British Rail fish terminal was converted into a film set for the bordello bawdy-house. The production also reconstructed streets in the East End of London to resemble the Edwardian era. See more »

Quotes

Reverend Fortescue: The locals had never seen a bicycle before. They used to call me "The Man on the Starving Horse."
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Crazy Credits

Pay close attention to the photo album during the end credits, the photos reveal details about the characters after the events of the film. See more »


Soundtracks

Put On Your Ta-Ta Little Girlie
Written and Composed by Fred W. Leigh
Sung by Neil Innes
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User Reviews

 
Wacky but doesn't grate
24 September 2005 | by See all my reviews

Unlike American films where situation and reaction are usually the dominant elements of comedy, English cinema has a tendency to rely on outrageous or eccentric characterisation. It usually works well on a detailed level with typical stock characters such as irascible colonels, domineering great-aunts and frightfully keen twits but, quite often, individual actors get so caught up in their own characters that the film as a whole loses its sense of coherence.

The Missionary is a very traditional English comedy with the usual over-the-top collection of the innocent, the incompetent, the mad, the prim and proper and the sex-starved but, in this case, the characters lock well into each other like a jigsaw. Maybe it is due to a certain respect that stars like Maggie Smith, Michael Palin and Trevor Howard had for each other as they try to complement rather than overshadow each others' performances.

Once you find the pitch of the humour, this is a gem of a comedy and worth seeing alone for the batty directionally-challenged butler played by Michael Hordern.


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