39 user 21 critic

The Horse's Mouth (1958)

Not Rated | | Comedy | 11 November 1958 (USA)
A somewhat vulgar but dedicated painter searches for the perfect realization of his artistic vision, much to the chagrin of others.


Ronald Neame


Joyce Cary (novel), Alec Guinness (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Alec Guinness ... Gulley Jimson
Kay Walsh ... Dee Coker
Renee Houston ... Sara Monday
Mike Morgan Mike Morgan ... Nosey
Robert Coote ... Sir William Beeder
Arthur Macrae Arthur Macrae ... A.W. Alabaster
Veronica Turleigh ... Lady Beeder
Michael Gough ... Abel
Reginald Beckwith ... Capt. Jones
Ernest Thesiger ... Hickson
Gillian Vaughan Gillian Vaughan ... Lollie


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 seven thousand 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 <dumarest@midcoast.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Smart Alec See more »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


One day Ronald Neame found Sir Alec 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 fourteen-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 Jimson is served a pint of beer in the pub. The amount of beer in the glass varies inconsistently in subsequent shots. See more »


Gulley Jimson: What are your feet like?
Charwoman: Why?
Gulley Jimson: If they're really old, trampled feet - as I suspect - I'd like to draw them.
Charwoman: Draw your own feet!
[she leaves]
Gulley Jimson: Old women's feet... thin, flat, long, clinging to the ground like reptiles.
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 »

User Reviews

Straight From............................................
19 March 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

A year after winning the Oscar for Best Actor in The Bridge on the River Kwai, Alec Guinness was back to doing comedy, but with a lot bigger budgets than he was used to. His classic parts in Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Lavendar Hill Mob were done without color for instance, which was a much bigger premium for films in the United Kingdom.

Guinness has not played such a disreputable character as Cully Jimson since playing Fagin in Oliver Twist. Yet even as he's fleecing all around him including his girl friend Kay Walsh and devoted acolyte Mike Morgan, he still retains that likability. You do end up rooting for him even as he pulls some outrageous scams.

Kay Walsh who as David Lean's ex-wife was friends with Guinness and his wife Merula. Lean of course was responsible for Guinness's breakout roles in Great Expectations and Oliver Twist. Guinness got her cast in the role of his long suffering girlfriend and owner of a pub.

Sadly young Mike Morgan died right before shooting ended on The Horse's Mouth. Guinness had worked with him previously on Morgan's only other film credit, Barnacle Bill. He gives a nice winsome performance as the young man who just wants to bask in the glow of Guinness's talent and glosses over all the chicanery.

I don't think The Horse's Mouth is as good as Kind Hearts and Coronets or The Lavendar Hill Mob. Still Guinness obviously saw the film as a labor of love and the results do show.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

11 November 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Un genio anda suelto See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Knightsbridge Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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