Watch The Horse's Mouth
- 1 hr 37 min
The Horse's Mouth is a 1958 British comedy-drama film based on the novel of the same name by Joyce Cary. The film is directed by Ronald Neame and stars Alec Guinness, Kay Walsh, and Renee Houston in the lead roles. The movie is a quirky portrait of the complicated figure of Gulley Jimson, an eccentric and self-absorbed painter who is constantly on the look-out for his next canvas. Jimson is a well-known artist, but his stubborn, iconoclastic and selfish nature has left him alone and destitute. He is often seen roaming the streets of London, looking for inspiration and a way to fund his next masterpiece. The story begins with Jimson being released from prison and setting out to seek sponsorship for his next great painting. He soon discovers a potential patron in the form of the wealthy Mrs. Hickson (Walsh), who is captivated by Jimson's mad visionary spirit. However, Jimson becomes increasingly fixated on his art to the point that he drives away everyone who comes near him. Despite his abrasive personality, he manages to befriend several other artists, including Coker (Mike Morgan) and Nosey (Ernest Thesiger), who are fascinated by his peculiar perspective on life. Throughout the film, Jimson is determined to find his ultimate canvas, an old barge that he wants to paint and to use as a floating studio. However, the barge is owned by a stubborn old couple named Potter (Robert Coote) and his wife (Houston), who refuse to sell it to Jimson for any price. This leads to a hilarious set of events in which Jimson resorts to deceit and trickery to try to get the barge, much to the chagrin of Mrs. Hickson, who has her own designs on the boat. The Horse's Mouth is a unique and quirky film, with a witty screenplay that showcases Guinness's talents as an actor. He imbues the character of Jimson with a ferocious energy and a maniacal focus that are both entertaining and unsettling. He dominates every scene he's in and is a joy to watch as he rambles about art, life, and his quest for inspiration. Kay Walsh is also excellent as Jimson's beleaguered patron, who is both fascinated and frustrated by his antics. She is the voice of reason in a world of chaos, and her growing affection for Jimson contrasts nicely with his abrasive personality. The film is also notable for its impressive sets and colorful cinematography, which capture the bustling energy of post-WWII London. The scenes on the barge, where Jimson is seen creating his masterpiece, are particularly well done and showcase the talents of the production designers. Despite its focus on the eccentric and at times quite difficult Jimson, The Horse's Mouth remains a deeply humane story, one that celebrates the power of art to transform and transcend the mundane. It is a testament to the power of creativity, and the unyielding spirit that drives us to create, even in the face of poverty, loneliness, and rejection. In conclusion, The Horse's Mouth is an enjoyable and unique film that showcases Alec Guinness's gifts as an actor. It's a humorous, poignant, and at times surreal portrait of a complex, difficult man who is driven by his passion for art. The film's whimsy and off-kilter sensibility make it a compelling and entertaining watch, and it's easy to see why it remains a cult favorite after all these years.