The Lavendar Hill Mob

The Internet Movie Database       Movie Reviews

Four men decide to steal a million pounds in gold from the Bank of England

What a wonderful movie this is. The film discussion group at my library chose this, and Mr. Otter and I could only find a videocassette of it, which had VERY bad sound. And it was still a wonderful movie.

It’s a caper movie, and is only 78 minutes long. I see that someone is remaking it, it’s due to be out in 2009, and I’ll bet it gets padded to at least 100 minutes, if not two hours. And it doesn’t need it.

This is a movie with no extraneous bits. The crime is planned, the planners carry it off, and of course things do not go smoothly. But not a minute of film is wasted; everything is short and to-the-point. As we were watching it, I said to Mr. Otter, if they remade this today, they’d spend an hour on exposition rather than 15 minutes and wouldn’t gain a thing by it. We’ll see what happens.

Alec Guinness and Stanley Holloway are the stars, and are wonderful foils for each other. Each comedic bit gets a little funnier and more frantic, and the ending, although imposed on the filmmakers to facilitate distribution in the more censorious American market, is satisfying.

Astute watchers will notice Audrey Hepburn’s first film appearance at the very beginning (uncredited on the video we watched, but evidently that has been rectified) and Robert Shaw as the police guy dipping the Eiffel Tower paperweight in the liquid.

Also, the filmmakers evidently asked the Bank of England to come up with a way to do this robbery, and the bank obliged…and that was the method used in the film. Imagine that happening now!

A thoroughly enjoyable romp.

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