Ty Burr
June 19, 1992 AT 04:00 AM EDT

EW remembers Robert Morley

For many Americans, Robert Morley was the celluloid symbol of the British Empire. He seemed its equal in size, for one thing — a vast bulk of men’s-club manners and dithering colonial bombast. But Morley, who died of a stroke on June 3 at age 84, was a slyly skillful performer. British Airways ads solidified the John Bull sterotype and eased Morley’s retirement, but the sun will never set on his best roles:

MARIE ANTOINETTE
Buried in this bloated costumer is a touching debut by 30-year-old Morley as a naive Louis XVI. B-

THE AFRICAN QUEEN
He’s not around for long as Katharine Hepburn’s doomed missionary brother, but he gets a nifty death scene. A

BEAT THE DEVIL
Bogart may not have been on director John Huston’s shaggy-dog wavelength, but Morley certainly was, playing a chattery rogue who’s not as bright as he thinks. B+

THEATRE OF BLOOD
Outrageously hammy as a critic tricked into ingesting his own pet poodles by demented actor Vincent Price. B+

WHO IS KILLING THE GREAT CHEFS OF EUROPE?
As a beetle-browed gourmand caught in a Continental mystery, Morley has a meaty role in a lean film. C-

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