Tag Archives: Alec Guinness

The Ladykillers

1955

directed by: Alexander Mackendrick

Some months ago, I came across The Ladykillers a few different ways.  I think I was in the mood to see more Alec Guinness movies (the man’s voice is undeniable), and there were a bunch of Peter Sellers movies on TCM , and this seemed to fit the bill, not being a Pink Panther movie.  Also, I had vaguely heard of the remake , though I don’t think anyone has ever seen that movie, despite being a Tom Hanks / Coen brothers vehicle.

Anywho, it’s a very British movie, which is to say, a lot of subtle humor, and a huge influence / precursor to the Jason Statham/Lock Stock/ (insert any bank robbery film) films of the 90’s and today.  Which means you have a crew of guys looking to make a heist.  Guinness plays the ringleader, Professor Marcus, though it is doubtful the entire time whether he’s actually a Professor at all (part of the humour I suppose) .  His makeup is phenomenally ghoulish though, a great twist.  Peter Sellers plays the nervous Cockney with a gun, and then there’s the bumbling incompetent fool, the big tall softspoken giant, and the rough no-guff scoundrel.     The movie is really made though by the Lady , Mrs.  Wilberforce, a name which seems like it was entirely created just so the guys could address her 800 times in the movie.   She’s just a nice old lady, a little senile, and always tries to do the right thing… typical old lady.  Well, she gets caught up in the middle of the heist, hijinks ensue and then let’s just say the end was very satisfying.  Great ending.  Laggy 2nd Act.  …and to a certain extent the 3rd Act and climax was okay/ a little predictable, but great ending.  Definitely worth checking out for fans of heist/British/Alec Guinness fans.

Underrated Actors:  Katie Johnson as Mrs. Wilberforce (though she did win a BAFTA for Best Actress for it)

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