Little old Mrs Wilberforce (Katie Johnson) is looking for a tenant for her spare rooms. Turning up one day, the room is taken by the mysterious Professor Marcus (Alec Guinness). Telling Mrs Wilberforce that he and his friends are an amateur band, the Professor is in fact planning a robbery. Not taking account of the people human factor though, he doesn't take account of the involvement of Mrs Wilberforce.
It's with films like this that we are shown just how things were done better in the old days. Recently remade into a modern American version, this original of the film is vastly superior with a better cast and a considerably darker feel. This is helped in particular by an absolutely stunning turn by Guinness as the criminal genius. He's not alone however. Aided by his gang of criminals, including Peter Sellers and Cecil Parker, Guinness is also aided in the film by some great cameos by Frankie Howard and Kenneth Connor.
Aside from the cast, the true beauty of this film is the script and the plot. The way events turn against the gang and life gets increasingly uncomfortable is superbly handled, and the final Alec Guinness resolution is a moment to be remembered.
All in all, it's films like 'The Ladykillers' which remind us of just how good comedy should be. At only just over 90minutes, the film never drags and entertains from start to finish. Most modern comedians seem to rely on one joke repeated constantly. As a result, it's nice to see a film which still feels fresh and funny, fifty years after it was first released. If you want to watch a good comedy, ignore the modern stuff and go for this classic.Production Note:
Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Writing credits: William Rose (screenplay) & (story)
Alec Guinness .... Professor Marcus
Cecil Parker .... Claude (a.k.a. 'Major Courtney')
Herbert Lom .... Louis (a.k.a. 'Mr. Harvey')
Peter Sellers .... Harry (a.k.a. 'Mr. Robinson')
Danny Green .... One-Round (a.k.a. 'Mr. Lawson')
Jack Warner .... The Superintendent
Katie Johnson .... Mrs. Wilberforce
Philip Stainton .... The Sergeant
Frankie Howerd .... The Barrow boy
Coding: All Region Code / PAL format
(please make sure your dvd player can play PAL format's dvd)
Video: 16:9 Widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital / AC-3 / 5.1 Surround Sound
Subtitles: Traditional Chinese / Simplify Chinese / None (Removable)
Runtime: 86 mins.