The Missionary


Action / Comedy

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled41%
IMDb Rating6.2102434

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Maggie Smith Photo
Maggie Smith as Lady Isabel Ames
Timothy Spall Photo
Timothy Spall as Parswell
Anton Lesser Photo
Anton Lesser as Young Man
David Suchet Photo
David Suchet as Corbett
792.33 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 26 min
P/S 2 / 1

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Lejink7 / 10

Palin's pro's parable..

I've recently finished reading Michael Palin's second set of diaries ("Halfway to Hollywood"),which includes sections covering the real-time writing and filming of this particular film and so was pleased to get the chance to view it.

It's a pleasantly diverting comedy taking gentle pot-shots at snobbery, the English class system, the church and as the title makes clear, the Edwardian outlook on sex, peopled by a top-drawer British cast in very good form.

Palin himself takes the lead part and if lacking a little in the masculine virility I think the part calls for, nonetheless masters as you'd expect the comic delivery for which he's well regarded. To be fair, he is definitely outshone by his co-lead, Maggie Smith, as the repressed wife of a titled benefactor, late of the street herself as Smith herself relates to us in a disarming Cockney accent near the end. Michael Hordern does a hilarious little cameo as a befuddled butler, likewise Denholm Elliott as a "sporty" bishop and Trevor Howard as the frightfully frightfully titled patron-husband of Smith. I also liked Phoebe Nicholl's little turn as Palin's dim and virginal intended bride with a penchant for cataloguing. Some of the characters do, however, seem like leftovers from Palin's wonderful "Ripping Yarns" series and occasionally the film does veer off the track a little too much into farce territory with the ending tapering off somewhat, but with Palin the writer often employing the familiar trick of finishing scenes with amusing jokes, he just about keeps the film on an even keel for its not overlong playing time.

As for the direction, I did find the lighting a little gloomy at times and I suppose lack of budget could have been slightly to blame for not quite delivering a convincing depiction of the squalid streets of London where Palin looks to lift up his fallen women (in the Gladstonian sense of the phrase, naturally).

On the whole though, a likable, at times highly amusing light comedy rather making me sad a little that Michael later got lost on his worldly travels (entertaining as they've been),at the expense of his writing and acting skills.

Reviewed by lee_eisenberg7 / 10

cool religion

Despite the presence of Michael Palin, "The Missionary" is not a Monty Python movie. It certainly doesn't consist of the wry humor that Monty Python did. Rather, it's got the sort of humor where you sometimes have to listen hard to catch the jokes...that is, when the main stuff isn't happening. Palin plays a chaplain who returns from Africa to start a school to help the poor, but has to get on an aristocrat's (Maggie Smith) REALLY good side to acquire the funds. It appears to be the sort of movie that they made to have fun. The movies from George Harrison's company HandMade Films that I've seen (others include "Time Bandits" and "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels") have always been good ones. I certainly recommend this one. Worth seeing.

Also starring Trevor Howard, Denholm Elliott, Michael Hordern, Graham Crowden, David Suchet, Phoebe Nicholls, Tricia George, Valerie Whittington, Roland Culver, Rosamund Greenwood, Timothy Spall and Neil Innes.

Reviewed by mark.waltz7 / 10

Always look on the bright side of sex.

When veteran missionary Michael Palin returns from 10 years in Africa, he's reassigned by bishop Denholm Elliott to the London red light district in hopes of rehabilitating the street walkers. As timid about sex as he is titillated by it, he's easy prey for the lonely Maggie Smith, married to the aging and extremely wealthy Trevor Howard. But she's a bit of a jealous sort and plots to have her husband bumped off, something Palin must try to stop, unfortunately on the day he's set to marry his long time fiancee Phoebe Nicholls.

Very subtle comedy guides this view of class and manners and sin on both sides of the tracks. There's a shot of the future location of the popular "Downton Abbey", the home of a wealthy widow Palin visits to try to gain funds. Veteran actor Michael Horden provides the narration and is the aging butler to Howard and Smith, often befuddled and possibly senile.

This is the first of two films that Smith and Palin made together (the other being "A Private Function") and while Palin's appearance may seem to indicate it, this is not a Monty Python film. It's nice to see Smith playing a wealthy lady that's not quite like lady Violet from Downton Abbey, and in one part, she indicates that she despises the upper class and is glad to really not be one of them. Interestingly enough, it's set in the same era, so maybe out there in that world was a lookalike great estate where the Crawley's resided. I could listen to Smiths speak all day, but the film nearly is stolen by Horden.

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