What would we do without the Criterion Collection? Without them, we might not have ever gotten to see the deeply ironic and wonderfully melancholy Last Holiday, starring Alec Guinness in one of his very best performances.
Released as a stand-alone DVD and also as part of a larger boxed set of classic Janus films (available now), 1950’s Last Holiday features Guinness as everyman George Bird, who learns he has only a couple of months to live. Emboldened by his pending demise, George cashes out his savings to spend the rest of his days living among the upper crust in a luxurious resort town. He’s the talk of the hotel, he falls in love, and he gets presented with a lucrative business opportunity… right before the O. Henry–like twist happens. In 2006, a mediocre remake starring Queen Latifah was released, one that doesn’t come close to the charm of the original—no offense to the Queen, but she can’t compete with Guinness’s wry, pitch-perfect delivery.
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