Alastair Sim on stage and screen

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Sim as the Laird in Geordie, 1955

The Scottish actor Alastair Sim (1900–1976) performed in many mediums of light entertainment, including theatre, film and television.[1] His career spanned from 1930 until his death. During that time he was a "memorable character player of faded Anglo-Scottish gentility, whimsically put-upon countenance, and sepulchral, sometimes minatory, laugh".[2]

After studying chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, he was employed, between 1925 and 1930, as a lecturer in elocution at New College, Edinburgh, and also established his own school of drama and speech training.[3] In 1930 he made his professional stage debut as a messenger in Othello at the Savoy Theatre, London[4]—with Paul Robeson and Peggy Ashcroft in the lead roles.[3] During the next five years he appeared on stage in New York and the UK, and spent two years at the Old Vic.[5]

In 1935 he made his film debut, appearing in The Riverside Murder (dir. Albert Parker); he appeared in four films that year, and five the following.[6] His film career progressed and by the mid 1940s he was a well-known figure in the theatre and cinema.[2] The Times highlighted some of his more notable films, including Green for Danger (1946), The Happiest Days of Your Life (1950), Scrooge (1951), An Inspector Calls (1954), The Green Man (1956) and School for Scoundrels (1960).[1]

Sim had been Rector of the University of Edinburgh in 1951, and was awarded CBE in 1953, although he turned down a knighthood that was offered to him by Edward Heath.[3] His biographer, Bruce Babington, considered that "Sim was the paradigm – authority figure, yes, but often shadily duplicitous, often a manipulator of official rhetoric, his sexless bachelor persona containing strains of sexual ambiguity, his jolliness a latent vampirism."[2] Sim died in August 1976.[3]

Stage credits

Sim in The Green Man, 1956
Stage credits of Alastair Sim
Production[7][8] Date Theatre
(London, unless otherwise noted)
Role Notes
Othello 19 May 1930 Savoy Theatre Messenger
Caviare December 1930 Little Theatre Revue
Betrayal January 1931 Little Theatre Vasiliy
The Venetian February 1931 Little Theatre Cardinal Medici
The Venetian 31 October 1931 Masque Theatre, New York Cardinal Medici
Julius Caesar January 1932 The Old Vic Trebonius/Lucilius
Lincoln February 1932 The Old Vic John Wilkes Booth
Othello March 1932 The Old Vic Duke of Venice
Twelfth Night March 1932 The Old Vic Antonio
Hamlet April 1932 The Old Vic King Claudius
Caesar and Cleopatra September 1932 The Old Vic Pothinus
Cymbeline October 1932 The Old Vic Cymbeline
As You Like It October 1932 The Old Vic Duke Senior
Macbeth November 1932 The Old Vic Banquo
The Winter's Tale January 1933 The Old Vic Polixenes
The Admirable Bashville Or, Constancy Rewarded February 1933 The Old Vic Cetewayo [9]
Mary Stuart February 1933 The Old Vic Sir Thomas Randolf
Romeo and Juliet March 1933 The Old Vic Apothecary
The School for Scandal March 1933 The Old Vic Crabtree
The Tempest April 1933 The Old Vic Antonio
As You Desire Me September 1933 Gate Theatre Carl Salter
The Rose Without a Thorn November 1933 Duke of York's Theatre Sir Thomas Audley
The Man Who Was Fed Up November 1933 Vaudeville Theatre Donald Geddes
The Devil in the News June 1934 Grafton Theatre Dominican Friar [10]
Volpone October 1934 Fortune Theatre Voltore One performance[11]
The Life That I Gave Him October 1934 Little Theatre Don Giorgio
Murder Trial October 1934 Little Theatre The Judge
Youth at the Helm November 1934 Westminster Theatre Ponsonby
Lady Precious Stream November 1934 Little Theatre General Wei
Alice in Wonderland December 1934 Duke of York's Theatre The Mad Hatter
Youth at the Helm February 1935 Globe Ponsonby
The Squeaker March 1937 Strand Theatre Collie
The Gusher July 1937 Prince's Theatre Peter Bogle
What Say They? 1939 Malvern Festival Professor Hayman
Old Master 1939 Malvern Festival Vane Barra
You of all People November 1939 Prince of Wales Theatre Portwine
What Say They? March 1940 Golders Green Theatre Professor Hayman
Cottage to Let July 1940 Wyndham's Theatre Charles Dimble
Cottage to Let May 1941 Wyndham's Theatre Charles Dimble
Peter Pan December 1941 Adelphi Theatre Captain Hook & Mr Darling
Peter Pan December 1942 Winter Garden Theatre Captain Hook & Mr Darling
Mr Bolfry August 1943 Westminster Theatre Mr McCrimmon Also director
It Depends What You Mean October 1944 Westminster Theatre Reverend William Paris Also director
The Forrigan Reel October 1945 Sadler's Wells Theatre Old MacAlpin Also director
Death of a Rat January 1946 Lyric Theatre Wouterson
Peter Pan December 1946 Scala Theatre Captain Hook
Dr Angelus July 1947 Phoenix Theatre Dr Angelus Also director
The Anatomist November 1948 Westminster Theatre Dr Knox Also director
Mr Gillie March 1950 Garrick Theatre Mr Gillie Also director
Mr Bolfry August 1956 Aldwych Theatre Mr Bolfry Also director
The Brass Butterfly April 1958 Strand Theatre Emperor Also director
The Bargain January 1961 St Martin's Theatre George Selwyn Also director
The Tempest May 1962 The Old Vic Prospero
Windfall July 1963 Lyric Theatre Alexander Lindsay Also director
Peter Pan 14 December 1963 Scala Theatre Captain Hook
The Merchant of Venice September 1964 Nottingham Playhouse, Nottingham Shylock
Peter Pan December 1964 Scala Theatre Captain Hook
The Elephant's Foot April 1965 Touring Freer Also director
Too True to Be Good September 1965 Edinburgh Festival, then Strand Theatre Colonel Tallboys
The Clandestine Marriage 1966 Chichester Festival Theatre Lord Ogleby
Number Ten August 1967 Strand Theatre Prime Minister
Peter Pan December 1968 Scala Theatre Captain Hook
The Magistrate September 1969 Chichester Festival Theatre Mr Poskitt
The Jockey Club Stakes October 1970 Vaudeville Theatre Marquess of Candover
Siege February 1972 Cambridge Theatre Willy
A Private Matter January 1973 Vaudeville Theatre Marvyn Dakyns
Dandy Dick 1973 Chichester Festival Theatre Augustine Judd
Dandy Dick October 1973 Garrick Theatre Augustine Judd
The Clandestine Marriage April 1975 Savoy Theatre Lord Ogleby

Filmography

Sim in Escapade, 1955
Filmography of Sim
Film[12][13] Year Role Ref.
The Riverside Murder 1935 Sgt 'Mack' McKay [14]
The Private Secretary 1935 Mr Nebulae [15]
Late Extra 1935 Mac [16]
A Fire Has Been Arranged 1935 Cutte [17]
The Case of Gabriel Perry 1935 [18]
Wedding Group 1936 Angus Graham [19]
Troubled Waters 1936 Mac MacTavish [20]
The Man in the Mirror 1936 Mannering [21]
Keep Your Seats, Please 1936 A. S. Drayton [22]
The Big Noise 1936 Finny [23]
Strange Experiment 1937 'Pop' Lawler [24]
A Romance in Flanders 1937 Colonel Wexton [25]
Melody and Romance 1937 Professor Williams [26]
Clothes and the Woman 1937 Francois [27]
Gangway 1937 Taggett [28]
The Squeaker 1937 Joshua Collie [29]
This Man Is News 1938 Lochlan Macgregor [30]
The Terror 1938 Soapy Marks [31]
Sailing Along 1938 Sylvester [32]
Alf's Button Afloat 1938 The Genie of the Button [33]
Climbing High 1938 Max [34]
This Man in Paris 1939 Lochlan Macgregor [35]
The Mysterious Mr. Davis 1939 George, the lunatic [36]
Inspector Hornleigh 1939 Sergeant Bingham [37]
Inspector Hornleigh on Holiday 1939 Sergeant Bingham [38]
Law and Disorder 1940 Samuel Blight [39]
Inspector Hornleigh Goes To It 1941 Sergeant Bingham [40]
Cottage to Let 1941 Charles Dimble [41]
Her Father's Daughter 1941 Mr McForrest [42]
Let the People Sing 1942 Professor Ernst Kronak [43]
Nero[a] 1943 Nero [44]
Waterloo Road 1945 Dr Montgomery [45]
Green for Danger 1946 Inspector Cockrill [46]
Captain Boycott 1947 Father McKeogh [47]
Hue and Cry 1947 Felix H. Wilkinson [48]
London Belongs to Me 1948 Henry Squales [49]
Stage Fright 1950 Commodore Gill [50]
The Happiest Days of Your Life 1950 Wetherby Pond [51]
Laughter in Paradise 1951 Deniston Russell [52]
Lady Godiva Rides Again 1951 Mr. Murington [53]
Scrooge 1951 Ebenezer Scrooge [54]
Innocents in Paris 1952 Sir Norman Barker [55]
Folly to Be Wise 1953 Rev. William Paris [56]
The Belles of St Trinian's 1954 Miss Millicent Fritton/Clarence Fritton [57]
An Inspector Calls 1954 Inspector Poole [58]
Geordie 1955 The Laird [59]
Escapade 1955 Dr Skillingsworth [60]
The Green Man 1956 Harry Hawkins [61]
Blue Murder at St Trinian's 1957 Miss Amelia Fritton [62]
The Doctor's Dilemma 1958 Cutler Walpole [63]
Left Right and Centre 1959 Lord Wilcot [64]
The Millionairess 1960 Julius Sagamore [65]
School for Scoundrels 1960 Stephen Potter [66]
The Anatomist 1961 Doctor Knox [67]
A Christmas Carol 1971 Voice of Scrooge [68]
The Ruling Class 1972 Bishop Lampton [69]
Royal Flash 1975 Mr Greig [70]
Escape from the Dark 1976 Lord Harrogate [71]

Television

Memorial stone near Sim's birthplace, Lothian Road, Edinburgh
Television appearances of Sim
Programme[12][13] Date Channel Role Notes
Mr. Gillie 25 July 1950 BBC Television Mr Gillie
Speaking Personally 14 March 1952 BBC Television Himself A 15-minute monologue to camera about the difficulties of delivering a monologue to camera
Misleading Cases 20 June 1967 – 25 July 1967 BBC Television Mr Justice Swallow Six episodes
Cold Comfort Farm 22 June 1968 – 6 July 1968 BBC Television Amos Three episodes
Misleading Cases 18 September 1968 – 30 October 1968 BBC Television Mr Justice Swallow Six episodes
Misleading Cases 30 July 1971 – 10 September 1971 BBC Television Mr Justice Swallow Six episodes
Play for Today: "The General's Day" 20 November 1972 BBC Television General Suffolk
The Prodigal Daughter 5 January 1975 ITV Father Perfect
Rogue Male 22 September 1976 BBC Television Earl
To See Such Fun 25 December 1977 ITV Himself

Notes and references

Notes

  1. ^ Short film on behalf of the Ministry of Fuel[44]

References

  1. ^ a b "Obituary: Mr Alastair Sim". The Times (59788). London. 21 August 1976. p. 14. 
  2. ^ a b c Babington, Bruce. "Sim, Alastair (1900–1976)". Screenonline. British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d Gilbert 2010.
  4. ^ Simpson 2009, p. 38.
  5. ^ Herbert 1978, p. 1128.
  6. ^ Simpson 2009, pp. 193–197.
  7. ^ Herbert 1978, pp. 1128–29.
  8. ^ Simpson 2009, pp. 219–21.
  9. ^ Rowell 1993, p. 116.
  10. ^ Wearing 2014, p. 369.
  11. ^ Wearing 2014, p. 390.
  12. ^ a b "Alastair Sim". British Film Institute. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Simpson 2009, pp. 193–218.
  14. ^ "The Riverside Murder". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  15. ^ "The Private Secretary". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  16. ^ "Late Extra". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  17. ^ "A Fire Has Been Arranged". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  18. ^ Simpson 2009, p. 49.
  19. ^ "Wedding Group". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  20. ^ "Troubled Waters". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  21. ^ "The Man in the Mirror". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  22. ^ "Keep Your Seats, Please!". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  23. ^ "The Big Noise". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  24. ^ "Strange Experiment". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  25. ^ Simpson 2009, p. 199.
  26. ^ "Melody and Romance". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  27. ^ "Clothes and the Woman". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  28. ^ "Gangway". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  29. ^ "The Squeaker". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  30. ^ "This Man Is News". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  31. ^ "The Terror". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  32. ^ "Sailing Along". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  33. ^ "Alf's Button Afloat". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  34. ^ "Climbing High". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  35. ^ "This Man in Paris". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  36. ^ "The Mysterious Mr. Davis". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  37. ^ "Inspector Hornleigh". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  38. ^ "Inspector Hornleigh on Holiday". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  39. ^ "Law and Disorder". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  40. ^ "Inspector Hornleigh Goes to It". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  41. ^ "Cottage to Let". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  42. ^ "Her Father's Daughter". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  43. ^ "Let the People Sing". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  44. ^ a b "Nero". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  45. ^ "Waterloo Road". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  46. ^ "Green for Danger". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  47. ^ "Captain Boycott". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  48. ^ "Hue and Cry". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  49. ^ "London Belongs to Me". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  50. ^ "Stage Fright". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  51. ^ "The Happiest Days of Your Life". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  52. ^ "Laughter in Paradise". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  53. ^ "Lady Godiva Rides Again". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  54. ^ "Scrooge". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  55. ^ "Innocents in Paris". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  56. ^ "Folly to Be Wise". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  57. ^ "The Belles of St. Trinian's". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  58. ^ "An Inspector Calls". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  59. ^ "Geordie". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  60. ^ "Escapade". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  61. ^ "The Green Man". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  62. ^ "Blue Murder at St. Trinian's". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  63. ^ "The Doctor's Dilemma". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  64. ^ "Left Right and Centre". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  65. ^ "The Millionairess". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  66. ^ "School for Scoundrels Or How to Win without Actually Cheating". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  67. ^ "The Anatomist". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  68. ^ "A Christmas Carol". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  69. ^ "The Ruling Class". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  70. ^ "Royal Flash". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  71. ^ "Escape from the Dark". British Film Institute. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 

Sources

External links

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