Green Man, The (1956)

Green Man, The (1956)

“I only accepted assignments against the so-called ‘great’: those overblown balloons who just cry out to be popped; I was glad to offer myself as a humble pin.”

A hitman (Alastair Sim) and his assistant (John Chandos) find their plans to assassinate a pompous government minister (Raymond Huntley) foiled by a meddling vacuum cleaner salesman (George Cole).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Alastair Sim Films
  • Amateur Sleuths
  • Assassination
  • Black Comedy
  • Hitmen
  • Mistaken or Hidden Identities
  • Play Adaptation

This fast-paced British farce — adapted from Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder’s play Meet the Body — features clever dialogue, humorous performances, and countless quirky characters. Sim is especially notable as the hired assassin — watch the way his facial expressions reveal his mental machinations as he figures things out on the spot. [As noted in Time Out’s review, one can’t help comparing Sim’s appearance here with that of Alec Guinness in The Ladykillers, a brilliant black comedy released the previous year; indeed, Guinness was apparently directly inspired by Sim’s performance as Mr. Squales in the (non-Peary-listed) London Belongs to Me (1948).] George Cole is suitably manic as the vacuum cleaner salesman who is determined to solve whatever “mess” is put in front of him — whether it’s soot on a carpet or a body stuffed into a piano; and beautiful Jill Adams (who reminds me of Shirley Henderson) makes an appealing female protagonist.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Alastair Sim as the ingenious hitman
  • George Cole as the vacuum cleaner salesman-cum-amateur sleuth
  • Jill Adams as Cole’s unwitting sidekick
  • Sim encouraging a trio of giddy female musicians to have drinks with him at the bar
  • Cedric Thorne Davie’s amusingly lilting orchestral score

Must See?
No, but it’s highly recommended.


One thought on “Green Man, The (1956)

  1. Not a must. A mildly diverting romp, bolstered by Sim’s fine performance. (As for Ms. Adams, seems to me that, prior to filming this picture, she made a thorough study of Marilyn Monroe’s performances esp. from ‘Don’t Bother to Knock’ through to ‘The Seven Year Itch’; Adams looks enough like MM, though is less breathy, and note her hairstyle and certain mannerisms/expressions.)

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