Originally released in 1950 and starring the great Alec Guinness (The Bridge on the River Kwai), Henry Cass’’s classic British comedy, Last Holiday is a witty and ironic meditation on the nature of love, life and luck. Last Holiday sees Guinness in one of his best, if lesser known, roles as an everyman facing his mortality in a hotel by the seaside.
George Bird (Alec Guinness) is a mild-mannered salesman who has been told by his Doctor that he only has a short time left to live. Determined not to waste his final days, he decides to spend all his savings living life to the full at a hotel by the British seaside. Once there, George embarks on a winning streak at croquet, poker and the horses that attracts the attention of his fellow guests, curious about the wealthy mystery man in their midst. George, however, feels more at home with the maids and clerks, including the no-nonsense housekeeper Mrs. Poole (Kay Walsh).
Coming just a year after his showy turn in full disguise as 8 different characters in Kind Hearts and Coronets this performance showcases instead Guinness’s skill for subtlety and nuance as a seemingly rather drab everyman. Supporting him are an exemplarity cast of the era that includes performances from Beatrice Campbell (The Master of Ballantrae), Kay Walsh (Oliver Twist), Bernard Lee (Dr. No), Sid James (Carry On Doctor), Wilfred Hyde-White (The Third Man) and Jean Colin (The Mikado). Written and produced by renowned novelist, playwright and left-wing broadcaster J.B. Priestley, Last Holiday is a deceptively sharp class commentary full of ironic and witty observations on the nature of life, love and luck.
Written and co-produced by J.B. Priestley
For the 2020 restoration of Last Holiday, STUDIOCANAL went back to the original camera negative where possible and alternative sources where severe damage that could not be repaired was encountered. These elements were scanned at 4K resolution in 10bit and then restored in 4k.