Lavender Hill Mob (1951) – Updated

33bec-lavenderhill1Here is a madcap comedy heist film that differs from the usual stories we are used to. First of all it stars Alec Guinness as an English foundry worker and the mastermind behind a gold heist. Except he is far from the criminal type (more of an English gentlemen actually) and so his attempt to snag the gold although clever has many problems. Rather than being tragic this tale is far more humorous and light with crazy chase scenes and humorous characters. If you want dark moody drama I would recommend The Asphalt Jungle or The Killing instead. You will find none of that type of violence here.

I hope to watch more from the Ealing Studios soon because like The Archers, these films seem quintessentially English which I am a fan of.  Aside from Guinness, Stanley Holloway gives a delightful performance as a partner in crime and there is also a very early appearance by Audrey Hepburn.

4.5/5 Star

The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)

1dadb-the_lavender_hill_mobStarring Alec Guinness and David Holloway this Ealing Studios comedy-heist film begins with an older man recounting how he got away with a large amount of gold bullion. His job had been to ride with gold shipments while they were transported. However, soon he met a quirky fellow partial to art and together they devised a plan to get the gold. They enlisted the help of two small-time criminals. The day of the caper was far from smooth and they must improvise. With luck they get away and the two instigators take their prize to Paris. There they have disastrous results and arrive back in England eventually to even more craziness. This film had endearing characters and its share of comical moments. If you pay attention you can see a young Audrey Hepburn for a blink of an eye near the beginning too!

4.5/5 Stars

The Lady Killers (1955)

c0838-the_ladykillers_posterStarring Alec Guinness, this is a unique and often hilarious black comedy caper film by the Ealing Studios. The adventure begins with the quirky criminal mastermind, Guinness, renting a room from an old woman. Soon his masquerading accomplices arrive. The five of them plan to commit a robbery and when the day comes things start off smoothly. However, they have the unknowing old woman pick up their prize and chaos follows her. The men get the money but before they can escape the lady accidentally finds out. The latter half of the film follows the double crossing antics of the criminals as they try to run off with the money while trying to figure out who will do the unpleasant job of knocking off the lady. Needless to say they don’t succeed. I was wary of this movie at first but it was actually very enjoyable because of the comedic and odd scenario. Keep your eyes on a young Peter Sellers as well as Herbert Lom.

4.5/5 Stars

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

d4c15-kind_hearts_and_coronetsStarring Dennis Price and Alec Guinness (in eight roles), this black comedy follows a commoner who tries to avenge his mother by killing eight relatives. The story begins with a man about to be hung and as he waits, he writes his memoir. Through a flashback, his childhood and adult life is shown. He worked tirelessly to move up in society and he also did away with everyone standing between him and the Dukedom (all played by Guinness). Things get complicated when he is about to marry a deceased victim’s wife and then a childhood beau tries to blackmail him. Ironically, the one murder he did not mean to commit is the one for which he gets caught. Yet there is still hope, or is there? Price plays the young and clever English gentleman very well and needless to say Guinness is extremely funny. Also, the two female characters are different but both good in their own right.

5/5 Stars