Cinema: Rushes: Nov. 8, 1982

THE MISSIONARY

His position is not in darkest Africa but in the steamy slums of Edwardian London. His task is to rescue the souls of their prostitute population. Unfortunately, this earnest young cleric is distracted by the pleasures of the women's generously proffered flesh, and by the importunings of his rich and lubricious patroness (a subdued Maggie Smith). The missionary is played by the Monty Python's Michael Palin, who also wrote the script. But the jokes are mild, single-minded and, too often, familiar. Palin appears less interested in being funny than in offering...

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