Director Billy Wilder salutes his idol, Ernst Lubitsch, with this comedy about a middle-aged playboy fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with the wife of a client.
Holland, a shy retiring man, dreams of being rich and living the good life. Faithfully, for 20 years, he has worked as a bank transfer agent for the delivery of gold bullion. One day he befriends Pendlebury, a maker of souvenirs. Holland remarks that, with Pendlebury's smelting equipment, one could forge the gold into harmless-looking toy Eiffel Towers and smuggle the gold from England into France. Soon after, the two plant a story to gain the services of professional criminals Lackery and Shorty. Together, the four plot their crime, leading to unexpected twists and turns. Written by
Rick Gregory <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Arriving in Paris, Pendlebury recites the words, "Gay, sprightly land of mirth and social ease"; Holland later repeats the phrase in reference to Rio de Janeiro. This line is a subtle reference to the movie's plot, because those words come originally from the 1765 poem "The Traveller" by Oliver Goldsmith. See more »
During the chase, the license plate on the armored truck is LKL238. The police officer correctly reports the license plate as LKL238. However, when the dispatcher repeats the license plate, he says LKL638. See more »
This is a comedy the talented Alec Guinnes did for the Ealing studio in the early part of his career. Of his Ealing days, he left us a legacy that is hard to surpass: "Kind Hearts and Coronets", "The Ladykillers" and this one, that comes to mind.
Directed by Charles Crichton and written by T.E. Clarke, this is a fun movie that in spite of the years since it was filmed, it still charms its audiences, young and old.
The background is a London, right after the war. The film is original in that it takes us all over the city to places that one can identify so clearly, even after more than 50 years! It speaks of how careful are the English not to destroy their monuments.
As the would be robbers, Henry "Dutch" Holland is a man with a plan. He recognizes in his neighbor of the Lavender Hill rooming house, Alfred Pendlebury, a kindred soul that will see his proposal of how to steal the precious gold bullion from the Bank of England. It's a big operation, yet, only four people are needed to carry on the job.
This is a comedy of errors, where the best laid plans go awry in the small details the gang hadn't planned. The sure thing becomes a dead giveaway to the authorities once Holland and Pendlebury decide to go after the souvenir one young student bought in Paris that is part of the loot. Prior to that, the scenes in Paris at the Eiffel Tower was an original sequence for a movie that relies on intelligence rather than in overblown special effects.
Alec Guinness is charming as the master mind behind the heist. Stanley Holloway, a great English actor is magnificent as the man with an artistic eye, who almost derails the operation. Sid James and Alfie Bass contribute to make the film the joy it is with their comic presence. In a small cameo that comes and goes so quickly, we watch a young and elegant Audrey Hepburn makes an graceful appearance.
This is a film for all Ealing fans of all ages.
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