review for A Majority of One on AllMovie

A Majority of One (1961)
by Craig Butler review

In A Majority of One, Rosalind Russell plays a Jewish widow from Brooklyn and Alec Guinness plays a Japanese businessman. This may not be the height of miscasting, but it provides one of the reasons why Majority doesn't really work. Both of these stars are talented, often brilliant actors, and each has more than enough technique to get through their roles. But even though each has some very nice moments, the viewer never really forgets that he is watching Russell and Guinness, rather than Mrs. Jacoby and Mr. Asano. Even with more likely actors, Majority would still have problems. While it has its heart very much in the right place, it's more than a bit earnest, and while some sequences manage to treat its theme of racial tolerance with a light touch, others are just too heavy-handed. Leonard Spigelgass' screenplay (from his Broadway hit) is a trifle mechanical and manipulative, but it does contain a couple of sequences -- in the garden of Asano's house and the final sequence in Mrs. Jacoby's apartment, for example -- that are touching, in spite of the manipulation. A Majority of One is not a chore to sit through -- though it could stand to lose 20 minutes -- but, overall, it's only mildly entertaining.