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>
"Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these - it might have been" is a taken from 'Maud Muller', a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier. See more »
After the raid we see the maroon (dark colored) bullion van being driven into an abandoned warehouse to be emptied (33mins 10 secs into the movie). In the next short shot of the van parking, the van has now become a light colored van. After that we see the dark colored van again. See more »
Ealing studios in Great Britain had a reputation for producing some very droll comedies in the post World War II years and this one was done when Ealing was at its height.
Alec Guinness is once again playing a mild mannered schnook of a man who no one notices at all. In fact his own superiors at his job, tell him to his face that his only virtue is a dull, honest dependability with a lack of imagination.
Boy how they were wrong. Guinness's job is to supervise the transfer of gold bullion from where it is smelted into bars to the Bank of England. Every working day he accompanies the gold in an armored truck to the bank. And Sir Alec's imagination has been working overtime as to how a robbery could be accomplished.
As he's discovered a long time ago, the problem isn't the robbery, it's the fencing of the loot. Well, bigger and more professional criminals have failed to lick that one on occasion.
Into Guinness's life walks Stanley Holloway who's the owner of a small foundry that makes lead souvenirs for sale. Another man with a dull life, looking for adventure. Guinness recognizes both a kindred spirit and a solution to his problem.
What makes The Lavendar Hill Mob work is the chemistry between Guinness and Holloway. It's so understated, but at the same time, so droll, funny, and touching. These two middle-aged men are living out a fantasy we'd all like to live, even if it means a touch of robbery. Guinness's character name is Henry Holland and Holloway is Alfred Pendlebury. As the friendship grows, they stop referring to each other as Mr. Holland and Mr. Pendlebury. Holloway even gives Holland the gangster nickname of Dutch.
They pick up two other amiable allies in petty crooks Sidney James and Alfie Bass. The robbery comes off pretty much as planned, but afterward things don't quite work out.
They use Holloway's foundry to make solid gold statues of the Eiffel Tower and send them to Paris to get them out of the country. What follows after that is some pretty funny situations, a mad run down the real Eiffel Tower and also one of the wildest police chase scenes ever filmed.
The run down the Eiffel Tower has always been a favorite of mine. When I was a lad, my parents took the family to Washington, DC for a sight seeing tour and I got the brilliant idea of walking down the Washington Monument to see the various commemorative stones in the wall of the Monument. Even after walking down, my whole family felt just like Guinness and Holloway.
Sir Alec Guinness got his first Oscar nomination for The Lavendar Hill Mob, but lost the big sweepstakes to Gary Cooper for High Noon. the Lavendar Hill Mob won an Oscar for the screenplay.
I understand there will be a remake of it coming out next year. I can't conceive of any remake possibly duplicating the chemistry between Guinness and Holloway.
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