“The Detective” is an oddly titled film released in 1954 that features G.K. Chesterton’s sleuthing priest, Father Brown. I say this is an odd title because it would seem to make more sense to somehow reference the main character upfront. Anyway, Alec Guinness dons the robes and cross for his portrayal of cunning, crime-solving clergyman. Robert Hamer directed this film which was co-written by Thelma Ross, Maurice Rapf, and himself. Joan Greenwood, Bernard Lee, and Peter Finch are part of the cast as well.
It’s a pretty charming movie but probably not the most memorable in some ways. Guinness is perfectly cast though as Father Brown. Finch takes on the role of the flamboyant master thief appropriately known as Flambeau.
Father Brown and Flambeau go head to head over a valuable cross which is in the priest’s care as he transports it from London to Rome. Father Brown is also trying to convince Flambeau to give up his criminal lifestyle though their several encounters.
There is some great scenery. The acting is pretty solid. It’s a charming, light-hearted mystery and adventure, but the banter between Finch and Guinness is about all that makes it stand out to any significant degree. It’s just a fun movie to catch on a slow afternoon or evening.