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Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Card (1952)

An ambitious washerwoman's son (Alec Guinness) weasels his way through opportunity and charm to wealth and position. That about sums up this amusing British comedy based on the popular 1911 Arnold Bennett novel. It's a rare romantic leading man role for Guinness and while he's no Cary Grant, he's got enough charm to be convincing as an unabashed opportunist able to win friends and influence people. His meteoric rise might be a bit quick to be authentic but that's not the point of the film, is it? Supporting Guinness in the fun are a bevy of talented actresses, notably Glynis Johns as a Guinness's female equivalent, a golddigging temptress who manages to latch on to any man with a healthy bank account. There's also winsome Petula Clark, Valerie Hobson as Guinness's first conquest, Veronica Turleigh and Joan Hickson. Retitled THE PROMOTER in America, it was turned into a musical in 1973. Directed by Ronald Neame (PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE). With Michael Hordern, Wilfrid Hyde White, Edward Chapman and Joey, the mule (yes, he actually gets billing!).

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