This is an amusing piece of hokum, being a parody of American gangsterdom interwoven with whimsy and exaggeration that makes it more of a macabre farce. Alec Guinness sinks his personality almost to the level of anonymity. Basic idea of thieves making a frail old lady an unwitting accomplice in their schemes is carried out in ludicrous and often tense situations.

This is an amusing piece of hokum, being a parody of American gangsterdom interwoven with whimsy and exaggeration that makes it more of a macabre farce. Alec Guinness sinks his personality almost to the level of anonymity. Basic idea of thieves making a frail old lady an unwitting accomplice in their schemes is carried out in ludicrous and often tense situations.

A bunch of crooks planning a currency haul call on their leader, who has temporarily boarded with a genteel widow near a big London rail terminal. They pass as musicians gathering for rehearsals, but wouldn’t deceive a baby.

Guinness tends to overact the sinister leader while Cecil Parker strikes just the right note as a conman posing as an army officer. Herbert Lom broods gloomily as the most ruthless of the plotters, with Peter Sellers contrasting well as the dumb muscle man. Danny Green completes the quintet.

1956: Nomination: Best Original Screenplay

The Ladykillers

UK

Production

Ealing. Director Alexander Mackendrick; Producer Michael Balcon; Screenplay William Rose; Camera Otto Heller; Editor Jack Harris; Music Tristram Cary; Art Director Jim Morahan

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1955. Running time: 96 MIN.

With

Alec Guinness Cecil Parker Herbert Lom Peter Sellers Katie Johnson Danny Green
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