7.6/10
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31 user 15 critic

Last Holiday (1950)

When a lonely, unappreciated farm equipment salesman discovers he has only weeks to live, he withdraws his savings for a final holiday at a 'posh' resort.

Director:

Henry Cass

Writer:

J.B. Priestley (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alec Guinness ... George Bird
Beatrice Campbell Beatrice Campbell ... Sheila Rockingham
Kay Walsh ... Mrs. Poole
Grégoire Aslan ... Gambini (as Coco Aslan)
Jean Colin ... Daisy Clarence
Muriel George ... Lady Oswington
Brian Worth Brian Worth ... Derek Rockingham
Esma Cannon ... Miss Fox
Bernard Lee ... Inspector Wilton
Sidney James ... Joe Clarence
Campbell Cotts Campbell Cotts ... Bellinghurst
Moultrie Kelsall ... Sir Robert Kyle
Eveline Kirkwood-Hackett Eveline Kirkwood-Hackett ... Miss Hatfield (as Mme. Kirkwood-Hackett)
Wilfrid Hyde-White ... Chalfont
Eric Maturin Eric Maturin ... Wrexham
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Storyline

George Bird's rather lonely, anonymous existence as an underappreciated seller of farm machinery is jarred when his physician informs him that he is suffering from the rare malady Lampington's Disease and only has a few weeks to live. Believing he has nothing to lose, Bird resigns his position and withdraws his modest life savings in order to spend his remaining time in a "posh" seaside resort. There he keeps his own counsel about his condition and meets people who live in a world he could never have imagined existed. Incredibly he finds personal and professional opportunities now open to him that that he never dreamed would be his, but unfortunately he is no position to take advantage of them... until fate lends a hand. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Guinness...The Great Lover!

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 November 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vacances sur ordonnance See more »

Filming Locations:

Torquay, Devon, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Remade in 2006 with Queen Latifah in the title role. See more »

Quotes

George Bird: [on learning he has weeks to live] When you come to think of it it's a bit thick isn't it?
See more »

Connections

Remade as Last Holiday (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

The Beggar's Theme
(uncredited)
Composed by Francis Chagrin
[played on violin by busker]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Universal message
12 December 2016 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Last Holiday contains the first really dramatic performance by Alec Guinness. It's also the first time he's carrying a film as per the billing on the strength of his abilities. It's one beautiful performance in a picture with a universal message.

Alec Guinness plays your British every man who having no wife, no family, and no close relatives is likely to be remembered by very few when he passes on and then for a short time. He's given the news that the grim reaper is close, it might be a matter of a few weeks or a few months. What to do but go out and just enjoy things while you can.

So he packs off and stays at the small but posh Regal Hotel, a seaside resort much prized by the British vacationers. And he has some phenomenal luck there, winning huge poker pots, longshot horse racing bets coming in. He even finds some love with hotel housekeeping manager Kay Walsh. But how to tell the new friends he's made what is in store for him?

J.B. Priestley wrote the original script and in my opinion should have been a candidate for all kinds of awards. It is direct and simple and never maudlin. Guinness got the character down perfectly. And the ending is truly ironical.

Which must have pleased and singed director Henry Cass a bit. Back in the 30s when Guinness was starting in the profession he tried out for a stage production directed by Cass who told him in no uncertain terms he was a no talent bum. This comes from a biography of Guinness. Kind of like Phil Rizzuto who was told he'd never be a ballplayer by Casey Stengel and then having him as his manager on the Yankees after becoming an All Star.

One should watch Last Holiday together with Grand Hotel and note some of the similarities and the differences with Lionel Barrymore and Alec Guinness both portraying men under a death sentence.

I think the message is the same, you never know when you're checking out so live accordingly.


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