Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 1972. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Screenplay by Jay Presson Allen, Hugh Wheeler, based on the novel by Graham Greene. Cinematography by Douglas Slocombe. Produced by James Cresson, Robert Fryer. Music by Tony Hatch. Production Design by John Box. Costume Design by Anthony Powell. Film Editing by John Bloom. Academy Awards 1972. Golden Globe Awards 1972.
Maggie Smith is fabulous-til-it-hurts in this overlong but very colourful adaptation of Graham Greene’s story. Alec McCowen is the prim and proper man who, on the day of his mother’s funeral, meets a crazy woman of ‘indeterminate age’ who claims to be his late mother’s sister. Before he knows it, he’s on a trip around the world trying to help his strange relative as she does whatever she can to raise money for a lover who has been held captive somewhere. George Cukor’s direction isn’t nearly as lively as it should be, but the sophistication and charm of it all (particularly the scenes when auntie remembers the good old days) make for an passable experience.