The Ladykillers 1955 Film Review
Major Claude Courtney
Mrs Louisa Wileberforce
About the film
Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Producer: Michael Balcon
Running time: 1 hr 31 mins
Genre: Crime, Comedy
Distributed by: The Rank Organisation
When Mrs Wilberforce is approached by a man claiming to be Professor Marcus asking if she has any rooms to rent, she willingly obliges. Little does she know that he and his gang are planning on doing a van robbery at Kings Cross Railway Station. They tell Mrs Wilberforce they are amateur musicians in a string quintet. They even take musical instruments with them to keep up the charade. While they are planning their robbery, they play a recording of Boccherini's Minuet, so Mrs Wilberforce thinks it's actually them that's playing.
What is funny, is that Mrs Wilberforce is often visiting the local police station with stories of incidents that are going on in her neighbourhood. Living alone, and being a rather eccentric old lady, she has a somewhat vivid imagination. So when she does go there to report an actual crime, it's a bit like the boy who cried wolf and they don't believe her. Being a dark comedy, there some comical moments in the film. What I found amusing is each time Mrs Wilberforce knocks on their room, the 5 men will quickly get into position with their instruments, and Professor Marcus will open the door, so she thinks they are rehearsing. After they do the robbery, they deceive Mrs Wilberforce into collecting the stolen money. No one would surly suspect a nice little old lady, would they?!
The film takes us through what this gang of 5 men do, and are willing to do, to get away with their crimes. These men are not youthful men. The five men are far from young men, which is probably why it is easier to fool Mrs Wilberforce into thinking they are musicians. There are some quirky little moments in the film, for instance, when Mrs Wilberforce has to bang on the pipes to get water out of them. And with the house subsiding, it makes it all the more interesting when watching the film.
This is a really good film, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This was the last film to be made at Ealing Studios. It's a sort of bitter sweet feeling watching this now, as they made some excellent films there. Alec Guiness plays as excellent part as Professor Marcus. His voice is calm throughout, yet authoritative. The story, I thought, was well written and excellently acted out on screen.
As I said, this is a dark comedy, so there are a few little bits throughout the film that are funny. When Mrs Wilberforce knocks on their room, for instance, they whisper, "It's Mrs Wilberforce with the tea." So they quickly get into position with their musical instruments and opens the door. Quite funny, I thought!
Although made in 1955, I still think this film is enjoyable and amusing to watch. If you've not seen this classic movie yet, then I would highly recommend you do!
© 2018 Louise Powles