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5 items from 2011


Why it's the theatre that's given us a Ladykillers to die for

22 December 2011 3:57 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Graham Linehan's stage adaptation of The Ladykillers succeeds where the Coen brothers failed: it's actually funny

Graham Linehan's new stage adaptation of the classic 1955 Ealing movie The Ladykillers, directed by Sean Foley, is up and running in London's West End. My colleague Michael Billington has delivered his verdict and I went to see it the other day. The questions this production throws up – apart from "Wasn't that brilliant?" and "When for goodness' sake can I see it again?" – are "How has Mr Linehan bucked the trend of film-to-play adaptations being so cynical and awful?" and "How has he succeeded where the Coen brothers failed?"

Joel and Ethan Coen produced their own remake of The Ladykillers in 2004. The original had a wacky criminal gang, led by Alec Guinness's loopy professor, renting a room in a tumbledown old house in London's King's Cross from a sweet old lady, whom »

- Peter Bradshaw

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How Graham Linehan dynamited The Ladykillers

18 December 2011 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

How do you adapt classic film The Ladykillers for the stage? First, blow the whole thing up

The story of The Ladykillers came to screenwriter William Rose in a dream. Four criminals planning a robbery hole up in an old lady's house, deciding to kill her when she discovers their secret. Unable to do the deed, however, some of them end up killing each other, and all of them end up dead. Rose woke his wife, Tania, gabbled the story to her – and immediately fell asleep again. She, thankfully for him and all of us, flew from their bed and typed the whole thing out before it had a chance to go cold. The next morning, she told the story to her husband, and he listened amazed, as if hearing it for the first time.

Fittingly, the classic 1955 film has a dreamlike, flowing quality, but with a robust logic that »

- Graham Linehan

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Graham Linehan on staging The Ladykillers

31 October 2011 2:11 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Now more than 50 years old, Ealing comedy The Ladykillers is one of Britain's best-loved films. So how will Graham Linehan, writer of The It Crowd and Father Ted, rework it for the theatre?

In the vaulting back room of a church off Islington's Upper Street in north London, five bad bogus men are plotting to bump off a little old lady. It is a hugely ambitious undertaking. Not only is The Ladykillers one of Britain's best-loved films, but the cast of the 1955 production – Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, Cecil Parker, Herbert Lom and Danny Green – did include one or two actors that modern film programmes like to wrongly refer to as "legends", even if (pedantry aside) you know what they mean.

But this won't be a film; it's a stage version. And it's far from a knock-off of the film. The story's pretty much the same, of course – criminals posing as »

- Euan Ferguson

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Ealing comedy The Ladykillers reborn on the stage

7 June 2011 5:51 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Alec Guinness classic crime caper re-cast as stage play in Liverpool by Father Ted and It Crowd writer Graham Linehan

It might be about criminals exploiting a sweet old lady so they can rob a bank, but The Ladykillers is regularly named as one of the nation's favourite comedy films. Now the Ealing classic is to be brought to the stage in a new version written by Father Ted and The It Crowd writer Graham Linehan.

Producers will announce that the memorably dark and stylish 1955 film is being adapted for the stage, with Peter Capaldi in the role of the charming but sinister gang leader Professor Marcus, played first by Alec Guinness.

The stage play will be very much Linehan's version. "I wanted the film to haunt the play rather than it be a transcription," he said.

There will also be more laughs. Linehan had been asked by producers if »

- Mark Brown

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Ealing comedy The Ladykillers emerges in West End

5 June 2011 6:55 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Alec Guinness seedy gang classic to become stage play, written by Father Ted author Graham Linehan

It might be about gangsters exploiting a sweet old lady to commit an ugly armed robbery, but The Ladykillers is regularly named as one of the nation's favourite comedy films. Now the Ealing classic is to be brought to the stage for the first time in a new version written by Father Ted and The It Crowd writer Graham Linehan.

Producers will announce that the memorably dark and stylish 1955 film is being adapted for the stage, with Peter Capaldi taking on the role of the charming but utterly sinister gang leader Professor Marcus, played originally by Alec Guinness.

The stage play will be very much Linehan's version. "I wanted the film to haunt the play rather than it be a transcription," he said.

There will also be more laughs. He had been asked by »

- Mark Brown

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5 items from 2011


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