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May 04, 2010


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The British Cinema, Directors and Directions, 1929 to 1968 or until whenever.....you should write that book.

Peter Nellhaus

I'm still hoping for a fully restored version of "Expresso Bongo". I also recently saw "Bees in Paradise", one of Guest's early films, and a strange little comedy at that. At this point, I'll go with "Expressive Esoterica".


I really admire Guest's ability to structure a picture and tell a story visually. You can clearly notice this in Hammer's X THE UNKNOWN, the studio's unofficial follow-up to the early Quatermass features helmed by Guest. While the movie, directed by Leslie Norman, is atmospherically shot and worth a look if you've never seen it, the film just doesn't compare in pacing, design and execution to Guest's QUATERMASS XPERIMENT/THE CREEPING UNKNOWN or QUATERMASS 2/ENEMY FROM SPACE. [I realize that the Nigel Kneale stories that inspired the Quatermass pictures are far better than the Jimmy Sangster script for X THE UNKNOWN; I'm just addressing the direction here.]

Guest directed an astounding array of movies; it's hard to immediately think of another director who handled such a variety of films so deftly. I sometimes daydream about a little film he made late in his career which aired on PBS as ...AND THE BAND PLAYED ON, about a daffy group of elderly small town musicians who played whatever notes they cared to play and the frustrated young conductor who tried to rein them in. A small, quaint gem I'd like to see again.

Steve Winer

In considering Guest's career, it's interesting to note that before he became a director, he was one of the best British comedy writers, working on many films for such top Brit comics as Will Hay, George Formby and Arthur Askey. None of these stars is well known here, but they were funny men and the films Guest co-wrote for them are generally their best.

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