21 June 2001 | Ron Oliver
A Heavenly Performance From Edmund Gwenn
THE BISHOP MISBEHAVES, perhaps just a little, when he sets aside his ecclesiastical duties to attempt solving a puzzling robbery in a neighboring pub.
This is a splendid little crime comedy from MGM, sadly neglected, which boasts fine production values and, most especially, delightful performances from a small constellation of first-rate character actors.
Edmund Gwenn - in his American movie debut - is charming in the title role, a small, cherubic cleric who loves to read detective novels. Incisive & methodical, he misses very little and faces danger with bubbling enthusiasm. Watching him deal with an assortment of villains is great entertainment. Lucile Watson, as his elderly sister, also plays her part with a superb sense of fun.
As the romantic interests, Maureen O' Sullivan & Norman Foster add a fine comedic flair to their roles. Here's a pair of lovebirds who don't mind getting involved in theft & kidnapping - for a good cause. (Mr. Foster would eventually become a director of fine repute, associating with Orson Welles & Walt Disney.)
Reginald Owen makes a marvelous, blustery bad guy. Robert Greig, instead of portraying one of his usual plumy butlers, surprises as a Limehouse lowlife who enjoys needlepoint while plotting crimes. Clicking, chittering Etienne Girardot is hilarious as Gwenn's nervous amanuensis. Lilian Bond, Dudley Digges & Melville Cooper round out the excellent cast.
If only the Church of England could have more bishops like Edmund Gwenn...