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03 August 2013

Alec Guinness (3 August SUTS)

guinness iiThis post is written in conjunction with the Summer Under the Stars Blogathon hosted by Sittin' on a Backyard Fence and Scribe Hard on Film. Full listings for SUTS programming on Turner Classic Movies can be found HERE.

English actor Alec Guinness has been one of my all-time favorite performers since I was a kid. I was introduced Guinness in the original STAR WARS movies, which my family used to watch every time we ordered pizza. Of course, Guinness hated working on the series and was partially responsible for having Obi-Wan written out so early in the story. Sadness. On the other hand, my mother also had a VHS collection of a few of his movies, like KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS (1949), THE LAVENDER HILL MOB (1951), and THE LADYKILLERS (1955), all of which I can highly recommend, and all of which I loved to watch on days I skipped school. Good times!

"Personally, I have only one great regret - that I never dared enough. If at all."
"Essentially I'm a small part actor who's been lucky enough to play leading roles for most of his life."
"Olivier made me laugh more as an actor more than anyone else. In my case, I love him in comedy and am not always sure about him in tragedy."
"An actor is at his best a kind of unfrocked priest who, for an hour or two, can call on heaven and hell to mesmerise a group of innocents."
"An actor is totally vulnerable. His total personality is exposed to critical judgement - his intellect, his bearing, his diction, his whole appearance. In short, his ego."
Alec Guinness Must-See Movie: STAR WARS: EPISODE IV A NEW HOPE (1977)
obi wan
"Mos Eisley spaceport: You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious."
"These aren't the droids you're looking for."
"Who's the more foolish: the fool, or the fool who follows him?"
"I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened."
"That's no moon - it's a space station."
"The Force will be with you, always."

kind heartsAlec Guinness Must-See Movie Number II: KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS (1949)

Guinness plays all eight members of the titled English family whom the unrecognised heir to the d'Ascogne dukedom, the protagonist Louis Mazzini (Dennis Price), plots to overthrow in honour of his impoverished mother's dying wish. Funniest, most Britishest move I ever saw ever. Guinness didn't have many spoken lines, so I've selected some of the best from the main character so you can get a taste for the humour of the film.
"While I never admired Edith as much as when I was with Sibella, I never longed for Sibella as much as when I was with Edith."
"I was sorry about the girl, but found some relief in the reflection that she had presumably during the weekend already undergone a fate worse than death."
"The Reverend Lord Henry was not one of those new-fangled parsons who carry the principles of their vocation uncomfortably into private life."
"The next morning I went out shooting with Ethelred - or rather, to watch Ethelred shooting; for my principles will not allow me to take a direct part in blood sports."
"It is so difficult to make a neat job of killing people with whom one is not on friendly terms."
"I must admit he exhibits the most extraordinary capacity for middle age that I've ever encountered in a young man of twenty-four."
"I had not forgotten or forgiven the boredom of the sermon of young Henry's funeral, and I decided to promote the Reverend Lord Henry D'Ascoyne to next place on the list."
kwaiAlec Guinness Must-See Number III: THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957)

A brilliant David Lean production about a British colonel (Lean) who is responsible for building a bridge for the Japanese at a WWII POW camp, oblivious that the men under his command are plotting to destroy the bridge upon its completion. You have probably heard the whistled theme tune for this movie.


  1. I love Alec Guinness and he was one of the greatest actors of his generation. And as much as I love him in STAR WARS, it's a shame this is what he is most remembered for by the general public.

    Thanks for your contribution to the blogathon.

  2. A great choice of must-see Guinness classics. He started off as being one of our most-disliked actors and then quickly became one of our all-time favorites and has remained so for many years. On a side note, I love all the "posters" you created for each of the actors you profiled in the SUTS blogathon. Great design!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to take credit for the banners, but the silhouettes are courtesy of the TCM website and the blogathon banners come from the hosts, Jill and Michael. They do great stuff. So glad you enjoyed the post!


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