Genre Grandeur – The Ladykillers (1955) – Michael Eddy


For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – British Comedies, here’s a review of The Ladykillers (1955) by Michael Eddy.

Thanks again to Allie of Often Off Topic for choosing this month’s genre.

Next month’s genre has been chosen by J-Dub of Dubsism and we will be reviewing our favorite Movies featuring Royalty

Please get me your submissions by the 25th of May by sending them to royaljdub@movierob.net

Try to think out of the box! Great choice J-Dub!

Let’s see what Michael thought of this movie:

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This movie is a gem. One of the British Ealing Studio comedies of the 50s (The Lavender Hill Mob, The Man in the White Suit, Kind Hearts and Coronets) – classic. No less than the formidable Coen Brothers – who I love – did a remake of this film in 2005 – with no less than the formidable Tom Hanks (I love him) in the role essayed by Alec Guinness in the original. It was a mistake, If you can’t improve on the original – don’t bother. And the remake was good, but should have been a pass.

 

The story: a crew of five nutty gangsters – out to pull off a bank heist – rent rooms at a small boarding house run by an 80 something woman under the pretense of being a group of classical musicians. Hilarity ensues. Tough to go into much detail – even in what is essentially a brilliant comedy – without spoiling too much of what happens. Suffice to say – the gangsters – led by the estimable Alec Guinness – who always thinks he’s smarter than the room – and his cohorts – and certainly his kindly old landlady – are in for a rude awakening. The best laid plans so to speak – go terrible sideways – in baby steps – that seem to gather steam as they roll downhill at a prodigious clip. Whatever can go wrong, does. And some things that shouldn’t go wrong – do.

 

The cast is brilliant – led by Guinness, a very young Peter Sellers (well before he would become the iconic Inspector Clouseau in the series of “Pink Panther” films, along with Frankie Howerd, Herbert Lom (who would go on to become the harried Chief Inspector alongside Sellers in the Pink Panther films) and a brilliant Katie Johnson as “Mrs. Wilberforce’ – the tiny little landlady who rents out her home to the “musicians”. The producers of the movie initially rejected Ms. Johnson for the role after she auditioned – because they thought she was “too frail” to play the part. The younger actress they hired in her place – died before filming began – and Johnson was called back to replace her.

 

The film is an absolute treat. Clever screenplay by William Rose – and again – that cast. If you’ve never seen it – do!

Let me Know what you think!!

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