Hugely enjoyable comedy about the anti-social nature of the true artist. Guinness plays Gulley Jimson, a marvelous creation of Joyce Cary's that the author loosely based on his friend Dylan Thomas. Guinness adapted the screenplay himself--a personal labor of love--and breathes fantastic
life into the part of a basket-case painter who lives like a bum but produces brilliant, unorthodox work.
Released from prison after serving time as a vagrant, Guinness returns to his wife and becomes enraged when he realizes that she has been surviving by selling off his paintings. He learns that a wealthy collector, Coote, is interested in his work, and he goes to see the man but finds that he is
out of town. Guinness looks about Coote's enormous flat and decides that he will simply move in and affix his latest masterpieces (actually the work of English artist John Bratby) to the walls.
Guinness first saw the film in Mexico City, where it was being shown at a film festival without the benefit of either dubbing or subtitles. Although most of the audience could not understand the dialogue, the vast majority roared their approval at the end, even though a faction who considered the
film an insult to artists started a fight, which developed into a riot. Guinness, accompanied by the British Ambassador and his wife, escaped unnoticed in the fleeing crowd.
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