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Currie, Finlay (1878-1968)


Main image of Currie, Finlay (1878-1968)

A monumental character player who terrified a generation of schoolchildren, and not a few adults, when, as Magwitch in David Lean's Great Expectations (1946), he leapt out at the young Pip in a gloomy cemetery.

Born in Edinburgh in 1878, he was formerly an organist and choirmaster, and on stage from 1898 and in films from 1931's The Old Man (d. Manning Haynes, 1931), the craggy, white-haired Currie continued to act into his '80s, often dour and forbidding, sometimes merely irascible as in The Mudlark (d. Jean Negulesco, 1950, as gillie John Brown) and Trio (d. Harold French, 1950), sometimes zealous as in Quo Vadis (US, d. Mervyn LeRoy, 1951), as St Peter, and occasionally benign, as the reluctant retiree (a role he never sought in life) in the tender B-movie, The End of the Road (d. Wolf Rilla, 1954).

He worked in Hollywood in the early '50s and the '60s, and made Kangaroo (US, d. Lewis Milestone, 1951) in Australia, where he had toured earlier in the century. He was married to American musical comedy star, Maude Courtney, with whom he formed a stage team in the 1890s.

Brian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of British Film

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Thumbnail image of 'I Know Where I'm Going!' (1945)'I Know Where I'm Going!' (1945)

Metaphysical love story, beautifully filmed in the Scottish Hebrides

Thumbnail image of 49th Parallel (1941)49th Parallel (1941)

Wartime drama: a Nazi U-boat crew is stranded in Canada

Thumbnail image of Bells Go Down, The (1943)Bells Go Down, The (1943)

Stirring film about the Fire Services in Blitz-torn London

Thumbnail image of Billy Liar (1963)Billy Liar (1963)

Kitchen-sink realism meets airy fantasy in this much-loved Sixties comedy

Thumbnail image of Edge of the World, The (1937)Edge of the World, The (1937)

Michael Powell's Scottish island saga was his first truly personal film

Thumbnail image of Good Companions, The (1933)Good Companions, The (1933)

Adaptation of J.B. Priestley's popular play about a performing troupe

Thumbnail image of Great Expectations (1946)Great Expectations (1946)

David Lean's definitive Dickens adaptation

Thumbnail image of Rome Express (1932)Rome Express (1932)

Delightful comedy-thriller set on a VIP-packed express train

Thumbnail image of Whisky Galore! (1949)Whisky Galore! (1949)

Gently subversive Ealing comedy about whisky smuggling in the Hebrides

Thumbnail image of Alice in Wonderland (1966)Alice in Wonderland (1966)

Jonathan Miller's startlingly imaginative version of Lewis Carroll's fantasy

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