Father Brown is distinguished mainly by the excellent casting of Alec Guinness in the title role. The G.K. Chesterton stories were adapted by Thelma Schnee, who shares the credit with the director. Between them they’ve fashioned a warm-hearted narrative based on the exploits of the eccentric priest who sets out to outwit international crooks while the police forces of London and Paris are on his tail.
As the yarn opens Guinness decides that it would not be safe to entrust a priceless cross to Scotland Yard in its journey from London to Rome, and decides to transport it himself. Needless to say he is outsmarted by an international thief with a reputation for stealing rare objets d’art.
This is, at all times, a gentle story, leisurely unfolded and always dominated by a masterly performance by Guinness. The near-sighted priest, who learns the secrets of unarmed combat from some of the tougher members of his flock, is admirably brought to life by Guinness. His performance, good though it is, does not overshadow a first-class thesping job by Peter Finch as the international thief who likes to collect the rare treasures he cannot afford.