7 July 2001 | Ron Oliver
Mister George Arliss Shines In Forgotten Film
Beset by creditors & worried over the fortunes of his dead, illegitimate son's children, an elderly shipping magnate - (affectionately known as OLD ENGLISH) - finds a determinate solution to his financial woes.
Mr. George Arliss, master movie actor of the 1930's, gives another extraordinary cinematic portrait, stealing his every scene & charming the viewers with equal ease. Born George Augustus Andrews (1868-1946), here was a performer destined for the screen, endlessly fascinating, never dull or commonplace. With the tiniest gesture or lift of an eyebrow he could impart unspoken volumes to the audience. Here he has one of his classic sequences, a long scene at the climax where he libidinously delights in a splendid solitary supper, relishing every bite & sip - an Oscar-worthy performance in every way.
Based on a John Galsworthy novel & play, the production values are adequate, but they betray their stage origins. Never mind. All Arliss needs is his supreme talent to make this regrettably obscure film memorable.
In the supporting cast, Ivan F. Simpson is excellent as an aged, querulous ship builder. Doris Lloyd & Ethel Griffies, two terrific British actresses who spent most of their careers in small roles in Hollywood films, often uncredited, are both given a fine opportunity to exhibit their skills as the troublesome women in Arliss' life.