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Friday, August 17, 2012

The Scapegoat (1959)

A rather dejected Englishman (Alec Guinness), a French teacher, meets his doppelganger, a French aristocrat (also Guinness), on a trip to Paris. The morning after, the Englishman finds himself mistaken for the vanished French aristocrat and slowly finds himself seduced by and involved with the man's life. But it's only a matter of time until the aristocrat comes to reclaim his life. Based on the novel by Daphne Du Maurier (REBECCA) and adapted for the screen by Gore Vidal with the director Robert Hamer (KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS) doing the screenplay. It's an intriguing mystery and if a bit farfetched, engaging enough to hook you and keep you anticipating every twist and turn. As always the consummate actor, Guinness subtly and with the tiniest of strokes, makes the two men different enough to be convincing. The shimmering score is by Bronislau Kaper. With Bette Davis as Guinness's morphine addicted mother, Nicole Maurey (DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST) as his mistress, Irene Worth as his wife, Pamela Brown as his sister, Geoffrey Keen as the chauffeur, Alan Webb as a policeman and as his daughter, a captivating performance by Annabel Bartlett in her only screen credit.

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