Far from Hamer at his best, but still a stylishly civilised comedy thriller, with an engagingly sly (if occasionally too ingratiating) performance from Guinness as GK Chesterton's sleuthing priest, here calmly countering the suave criminal mastermind Flambeau (played by Finch with a fine touch of sardonic melancholy) in his attempt to purloin the priceless Cross of St Augustine. One of the most attractive things about the film is the way Hamer manages to update the story to a contemporary setting without losing any of its quintessential period flavour. Basically the performances are the thing, although there are two outstanding sequences: the Hitchcockian auction set up as a trap for Flambeau, and the delightfully eccentric encounter between Father Brown and the ancient Vicomte de Verdigris (Thesiger), a veritable ballet of misadventures which ends in two sets of broken spectacles.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Thelma Schnee, Robert Hamer|