Last Holiday (1950 film)

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Last Holiday
a still shot from the film "Last Holiday" which shows Alec Guinness arriving at the hotel
Alec Guinness as George Bird and Helen Cherry as Miss Mellows
Directed by Henry Cass
Produced by Associated British Picture
Watergate Films
Stephen Mitchell
A. D. Peters
J.B. Priestley
Written by J. B. Priestley
Starring Alec Guinness
Beatrice Campbell
Kay Walsh
Bernard Lee
Wilfrid Hyde-White
Helen Cherry
Jean Colin
Muriel George
Sid James
Music by Francis Chagrin
Cinematography Ray Elton
Edited by Monica Kimick
Warner Brothers
Welwyn Studios
Distributed by Warner Brothers
Associated British-Pathé, Ltd.
Release dates
3 May 1950 (1950-05-03)
Running time
89 min
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office £109,084 (UK)[1]

Last Holiday is a 1950 British film featuring Alec Guinness in his sixth starring role. The low-key, dark comedy was written and co-produced by J. B. Priestley and directed by Henry Cass, featuring irony and wit often associated with Priestley.


George Bird (Guinness), an ordinary, unassuming salesman of agricultural implements, visits a physician for a routine check-up and is told he has Lampington's Disease, a newly identified condition which allows him only a few weeks to live. He accepts the doctor’s advice to take his savings and enjoy himself in the little time left to him. A bachelor with no family or friends, Bird decides to spend his last days at an up-market residential hotel among its elite clientele.

Bird’s unassuming attitude generates a great deal of interest among the hotel's residents. He is seen as an enigma to be solved, with wild speculations offered as to his identity and possible noble lineage. The hotel's housekeeper (Walsh) guesses the truth, and Bird confides his secret to her. Bird quickly acquires friends and influence, falls in love (possibly for the first time in his life), sets wrongs to right, and is offered lucrative business opportunities. But these successes only serve to make him reflect on the irony that he will have no time to enjoy them.

During a strike by the hotel's staff, Bird comes into contact with Sir Trevor Lampington (Thesiger), the namesake of the disease which overshadows his recently found happiness. Lampington insists that Bird cannot possibly have the disease. During a trip back to his home town, Bird confirms that he indeed was given the wrong diagnosis. Overjoyed, he is ready to begin life afresh with his new sweetheart, friends and business opportunities. In a twist ending, however, he is killed in a car accident on the way back to the hotel. The hotel guests, having learned the truth about Bird's identity and misdiagnosis, quickly begin to cast aspersions on him, but are interrupted with the news that he has died.



Upon its New York City November 1950 release, Bosley Crowther called it an "amusing and poignant little picture" that is "simple and modest in structure but delightfully rich in character."[2]

Other releases and versions[edit]

The film was released on VHS in 2000 by Homevision.[citation needed] It was released in DVD format by Janus Films and The Criterion Collection under license from Studio Canal in June 2009,[citation needed] but was dropped from their catalogs in 2011.

A loose remake of the same name was released in 2006, starring Queen Latifah as Georgia Byrd, LL Cool J, Timothy Hutton, Alicia Witt, and Gérard Depardieu.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p492
  2. ^ Bosley Crowther (14 November 1950). "Last Holiday, Written by J.B. Priestley, Stars Alec Guinness as Man Doomed to Die". Retrieved 2012-02-04. 

External links[edit]