Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Watch out ladies!

Do you ever wander around the library, hoping just the right book or movie will jump out at you? I do that and have had pretty good luck! My latest random find was the movie The Ladykillers. I'm talking about the one from 1955, not the newer remake with Tom Hanks. I doubt I'll even watch the new one because I'm pretty sure it would pale in comparison to the original.

When I first saw the DVD case, I thought it was a movie about Nosferatu! Because there was Sir Alec Guinness, looking so gaunt and sallow, wearing what are clearly fake choppers. Next to Guinness with his Nosferatu look, is Herbert Lom. Doesn't he look like he's channeling Dr. Evil? This was clearly a DVD I needed to check out.

I loved The Ladykillers! It's super funny, and gets funnier as it goes on. Some might say it's funny in a dark way. I'll give you the basic premise, because I don't want to spoil any of the surprises. I'll just tell you more or less what you'd read about it on the back of the DVD case.

You can tell he's loving every minute of this.

For me, this is basically Alec Guinness' movie. I might watch some scenes of it again, just to see him in action. Guinness plays a character named Professor Marcus. The Professor is a deranged criminal who seems pretty confident that he's covering that up with his elegant, polite, professor act. While working on a bank robbery, The Professor needs somewhere to stay. He decides to rent a room from a sweet, elderly lady named Mrs. Wilberforce. He tells her that his musician friends will be visiting from time to time to practice. His friends carry instrument cases, but that's about as close as they get to being musicians.

It's implied that the other men are also criminals, although you're not told exactly what they've done in the past. I liked that their previous crimes weren't spelled out and that I was left to figure some of it out. I also liked that any violent moments were implied. You're able to put together what happened without seeing the details. That's something I like about older movies, that you're asked to use your imagination.

As I write about it now, it occurs to me that if I'd known what these guys had done in the past, they might not have seemed so funny. And I probably wouldn't be laughing as much if I'd seen the violence play-by-play. That would have broken up the mood for sure! Somehow this movie manages to walk the line of funny and dramatic without ever seeming uneven.

The "musicians" are all very different, as you can see. There's the nutty one, the tough guy, the one that could fill in as Watson in some Sherlock Holmes movie, the typical gangster, and the young, goofy guy. (Played by Peter Sellers!) This photo shows the characters' personalities perfectly.

I don't think I'm spilling the beans too much by telling you that the men carry on with the robbery they've planned and that Mrs. Wilberforce gets wise to it. Not that it took a whole lot of deduction on her part! After that, Mrs. Wilberforce is a problem for them, and you can guess how they choose to deal with her from the title of this movie.

I won't say anything beyond that, except to say that for me, that's when the movie gets extra funny and surprising. I'm really tempted to mention a few parts, but I'll make myself stop here.

I didn't manage to find The Ladykillers in its entirety online, not for free anyway. It's on one of those paid sites for $1.99:

The Ladykillers on YouTube Movies

I bet you guys could also find it at your local library. It stands a good chance of being at the library since it's been around for a while and it turns out a lot of people think it's a classic. If any of you have seen this movie already, I'm happy to discuss it in the comments!

I'll leave you a moment with Mr. Charming, himself:

"Such Pretty Windows"

Watching this again, I'm seeing several red flags with "The Professor"!


  1. I saw this movie years ago - my mother used to love it. I remember it being pretty funny.

    1. Lady M ~ You remember correctly! :) It's worth watching again. I've been rewatching a few favorite parts just a week after seeing this.

  2. I';; be sure to check this out before too long! Fun post, Justine. :)

    Have you ever seen The Green Man? It was another British black comedy from around the same time, starring Alistair Sim as a devious criminal. It was a fun watch!

    1. Chris ~ Thank you! :) I really think you'd like this movie. I would think most people would, but you especially. I'm saying that because of the old time crime element and just the style in general. I'll be interested to hear your thoughts on The Ladykillers!

      Nope, I haven't seen The Green Man. It sounds like something I'd be interested in, though! I'll see if I can get a hold of that. I'm also going to go about seeing The Lavender Hill Mob, because that's been brought up as something similar to The Ladykillers and also has Alec Guinness in it.

  3. Have to find it somewhere. Looks good!

    1. Lorelei ~ It's worth a watch! :) Hope you can find it. I was such a fan of "The Ladykillers" that I sought out another Alec Guinness movie, where he again plays a criminal. That one is called "The Lavender Hill Mob" and I picked it up from the library today. I don't think he'll be any more of an effective criminal in this one than the last!