6.8/10
184
5 user 2 critic

Lease of Life (1954)

Approved | | Drama | 1 December 1955 (Portugal)
The parson of a small rural community knows he is dying and this makes him reconsider his life so far and what he can still do to help the community.

Director:

Charles Frend

Writers:

Frank Baker (adapted from a story by), Patrick Jenkins (from an idea by) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Donat ... William Thorne
Kay Walsh ... Vera Thorne
Adrienne Corri ... Susan Thorne
Denholm Elliott ... Martin Blake
Walter Fitzgerald ... The Dean
Cyril Raymond ... The Headmaster
Reginald Beckwith Reginald Beckwith ... Foley
Robert Sandford Robert Sandford ... The Boy with the Book
Frank Atkinson Frank Atkinson ... Verger
Alan Webb Alan Webb ... Dr. Pembury
Richard Wattis ... The Solicitor
Frederick Piper Frederick Piper ... The Jeweller
Vida Hope Vida Hope ... Mrs. Sproatley
Beckett Bould Beckett Bould ... Sproatley
Richard Leech ... Carter
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Storyline

The parson of a small rural community knows he is dying and this makes him reconsider his life so far and what he can still do to help the community.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Mr. Robert Donat enchants the unenchanted...beguiles the bedevilled...and just plain delights you - with that "GOODBYE MR. CHIPS" touch - sprinkled with laughter in a light cinematic refreshment... See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 December 1955 (Portugal) See more »

Also Known As:

De pastorie van Hinton See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Gaumont Kalee) (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Eastman Colour)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Early on in the film, when Reverend William Thorne (Robert Donat) and his wife in the vicarage, they are discussing a book being returned to them. It's a copy of The 39 Steps (by John Buchan). Robert Donat (Rev Thorne) played Hannay in Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 film of The 39 Steps. See more »

Goofs

When the the vicar's daughter leaves by train for an interview in London, the train leaves from an open through platform, but when she returns the train pulls into a mainline terminus station. See more »

Quotes

William Thorne: I think that was the first time in my life that I've preached to any effect.
See more »

Connections

References The 39 Steps (1935) See more »

Soundtracks

Trumpet Voluntary
(uncredited)
Music by Jeremiah Clarke
See more »

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User Reviews

Soft and subtle
27 December 2002 | by eannaSee all my reviews

Few contemporary films address religion with any sense of the nuances inherent in a belief in the supernatural. This film does so, and does so in ways so lovely that when it comes to its rather abrupt ending you're left saying "Wow...that was really interesting."

Donat plays the classic English parson, a role unchanged since Trollope, poor, scrimping, of moderate talents but immense goodness. When forced to face his own mortality, he becomes happier than ever before, since he can act with his beliefs out there for all to see.

The film also addresses the very common idea that a life of religion is one of rules alone, and demolishes it brusquely. The religious life is not one of rules but one of freedom. Freedom from many things, but freedom to do others. It is compellingly summarized in his brief but heartfelt sermon that is eagerly misinterpreted by the masses. But it is the message Jesus offered 2000 years ago. If you believe, and act on that belief, rules no longer are important. That is the ultimate freedom, and why Donat can be so happy while under a death sentence.

Fine film, understated yet potent.


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