Cinema: Sir Alec the Less

Situation Hopeless—But Not Serious. It is Germany, 1944. Allied bombs are splintering a village, and out of the smoke and rubble steps a helmeted, hesitant air-raid warden named Frick.

He is quickly identifiable as Alec Guinness, whose last really funny movie was The Horse's Mouth in 1959. Though billed as comedy, Hopeless flatly reestablishes that Sir Alec has taken leave of his sense of humor.

The plot, a slapdaptation of Actor-Author Robert Shaw's straight-faced novel The Hiding Place, gropes for drollery in the plight of two American airmen (Michael Connors and Robert Redford) who arrive in Germany by parachute and seek refuge in...

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