The Promoter

Before The Horse’s Mouth and Tunes of Glory, Alec Guinness and director Ronald Neame collaborated on this 1952 comedy, an adaptation of a 1911 novel by journalist Arnold Bennett. Guinness plays a washerwoman’s son who uses brains, charisma, and tremendous good luck to work his way up the social ladder in a turn-of-the-century industrial town. He encounters some obstacles along the way—the greatest of which is a money-grubbing love interest, played by Glynis Johns at her funniest and sexiest—but for the most part he enjoys a fairly smooth ride to the top. Neame and his players inject this with plenty of wit, distracting one from the Horatio Alger cliches. Originally released as The Card.