Lived: 1900 – 1976
God Type: Moments made
In One Line
Alastair Sim had the look of a clown, the soul of a child and the ability to create laughter with a moment; one word, one look or one step.
How to use Words
Alastair Sim had a wonderful way with words, tone and scale, a warmth of expression and the mocking eyes that no other comedy actor ever produced.
He could play anything and not many know of his success in playing dramatic parts especially at the Chichester festival.
Watch his films and take joy in a craftsman who could cut the words of a script and substitute a look and get a more telling effect.
“I Can’t Bear Professional Scotsmen”
He wasn’t a professional Scot rather an everyman, more comic than James Stewart, more approachable than Henry Fonda.
The St Trinian’s Films he starred in are remarkable for his portrayal of Miss Fritton. Here’s a man in his 50s creating a highly feminine, believable and funny woman with tiny gestures (see him put on a shawl) and using a quiet but unrestrained voice.
People That Say Alastair Sims was a Mugger
He was more than a puller of faces. Yes he relied on a look a bit too often but his expressions were always telling and always effective.
Where did he fall down?
He would never give autographs. He didn’t believe in ‘celebrity.’ Was that a failing? It was a conviction he stuck to all his life yet he have given happiness to real fans. That’s about it, otherwise he was known as a kind man who enjoyed mentoring actors like George Cole (although looking at George Cole’s performance in ‘Cottage to Let’ George knew what he was doing very early on) an trusted the young.
If he were alive now he’d be hard pushed to find life outside period drama, minor murder mystery for the twin set and scone brigade.
Want to be a Actor?
Don’t think too much eh? Find some of the old magicians like Mr Sim and think if you can use this old craftsmanship.
Top Alastair Comedy Moments and Clips
Watch the first scene in The Belles of St Trinian’s and wonder is that really a bloke?
Search for Alastair Sim’s speech when he became Rector of The University of Edinburgh
If you buy one DVD just to see him then buy ‘Green for Danger.’ Made in 1946 and made in a studio it mixes a few (tame) scares with comedy of the old school.
Read the Funny Peculiar profile at the British Film Institute.
Jim Kinloch 2010