The Green Man – Alistair Sim

Now this one is definitely among my VERY favourite films – a comedy thriller with the magnificent Alistair Sim with all his incredible facial expressions at his very best and among a crowd of now famous character actors from  British Films at that time.

Above – Alistair Sim and Avril Angers

This is a film that used to crop up on TV in England on a regular basis but I haven’t seen it for ages.

Alastair Sim plays a retired assassin who has been hired to do one more job.   He plays  Hawkins who had been involved years before in espionage  (we assume)  but had  retired at the end of WWII.  However now  he is  hired to eliminate Sir Gregory Upshott – a pompous minister played by   Raymond Huntley   – before he leaves for the Middle East.

In the process Hawkins romances Upshott’s secretary Marigold to find out his schedule and she  tells him  that Upshott is going to the Green Man Hotel with one of the office girls under an asssumed name.  However  when he was making notes  he didn’t see a piece of carbon paper under his sheet.

Alistair Sim meets George Cole who is selling ‘the little wizard of the carpet’   door to door

Marigold finds the carbon  copy  and rings  Hawkins asking why he was so interested in her boss – the government minister.  She insists on  coming over for an explanation.   Hawkins sends his assistant  next door and he switches  house names so that Marigold will go to the wrong place which  she does and the assistant murders her.

Stumbling into this situation comes  William Blake (George Cole), a vacuum cleaner salesman – I always remember he was trying to sell ‘the little wizard of the carpet’. He had made an appointment with Hawkins housekeeper. and since the house names were changed he thinks he’s in the right place. He dumps soot on the carpet for the demonstration but there is a problem here – no electricity.

Blake is left alone until Ann Vincent (Jill Adams) comes in. The house belongs to her fiancee, a BBC radio announcer.   The two are due to get married and the house is empty and waiting for them to set it up.

George Cole meets Jill Adams – but it is not what it looks like !!

Her fiance comes by and catches the two hiding under the bed.  Reginald the fiance played by that wonderful character actor Colin Gordon,  doesn’t believe  why they are hiding  and becomes angy and storms out.   Blake then discovers Marigold’s body in the piano.

It all comes to a climax at the Green Man – a cliff to hotel somewhere in the South of England.

The Thrilling Climax of the film takes place here – at The Green Man Hotel. – above.

Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder were up for the BAFTA award for Best British Screenplay.

Extracts below from one viewers comments which I have to agree with:-

Great performance from Alistair Sim surely Britains greatest actor (well I think so), with all round good performances from the rest of the cast. The film is farcical in the best tradition of British farce  but all good clean innocent fun really.


Above all it is truly funny and it contains one of the best lines in British film comedy.  When the character Reginald Willoughby-Cruft ( the brilliant Colin Gordon) confronts William Blake (George Cole) and says, “by heaven I’d thrash the life out of you, if I didn’t have to read the 9 o’clock news.” How much more British can you get !!

Alistair Sim in one of his best remembered roles as Scrooge – above


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