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The Detective (1954)

Father Brown (original title)
Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 1 November 1954 (USA)
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.

Director:

Robert Hamer

Writers:

G.K. Chesterton (stories), Thelma Schnee (adaptation) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alec Guinness ... Father Brown
Joan Greenwood ... Lady Warren
Peter Finch ... Gustave Flambeau
Cecil Parker ... The Bishop
Bernard Lee ... Inspector Valentine
Sidney James ... Bert Parkinson
Gérard Oury ... Inspector Dubois
Ernest Clark ... Bishop's Secretary
Aubrey Woods Aubrey Woods ... Charlie
John Salew John Salew ... Station Sergeant
Sam Kydd ... Scotland Yard Sergeant
John Horsley ... Inspector Wilkins
Jack McNaughton Jack McNaughton ... Railway Guard
Hugh Dempster 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 See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 November 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Detective See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Facet Productions See more »
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

Saint Augustine referred to in the film is not the famous Saint Augustine of Hippo, a bishop and theologian who lived in 4-5 century A.D. in Roman province of Numidia, Africa and of whom many viewers may have heard of. The film refers to Saint Augustine of Canterbury, no less famous in England who is known as "Apostle of the English". He was an abbot in Rome and was commissioned by Pope Gregory the Great in 596 A.D. to lead a perilous mission to England with his monks to baptize the Anglo-Saxon tribes where the Church had lost its ground many years before that following the withdrawal of Roman legions from Britain. After the first failed attempt to reach the channel St. Augustine returned to Rome and on the second attempt he and his monks finally reached Engliand in 597 A.D. St. Augustine established his mission in Canterbury, Kent and became the first bishop there and the head of the local church. 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

Inspector Valentine: [after failing to commandeer a taxi with a couple kissing in the back] Don't the police in France come before a pair of lovers?
Inspector Dubois: In Paris, on a warm afternoon? I'm afraid not.
See more »

Connections

Remake of Father Brown, Detective (1934) See more »

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User Reviews

Good Job of Filming a Creative & Interesting Story
8 September 2004 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

This enjoyable feature does a good job of filming a creative, interesting story using G.K. Chesterton's "Father Brown" character. Alec Guinness is a very good realization of Father Brown, and Peter Finch provides him with a worthy foil. The story uses a good variety of interesting settings, with numerous interesting turns in the plot, and some good moments from the supporting cast.

What makes it more intriguing than the average crime/mystery movie is that from the start Father Brown is more interested in reforming the criminal than in punishing him. It leads to a story that has some of the same elements as a conventional crime film, but it also adds a creative dimension that makes it so much more interesting than the dreary, excessive spectacles of the present time that drown out any substance with undue amounts of violence and crudity.

The story could, of course, have easily become implausible and/or annoyingly moralistic, but thanks to Guinness's usual fine performance, and good direction from Robert Hamer, that is not at all the case. While there's nothing flashy here, it's an interesting and enjoyable little feature, and a nice change of pace.


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