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The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 8,495 users  
Reviews: 55 user | 50 critic

A meek bank clerk who oversees the shipment of bullion joins with an eccentric neighbor to steal gold bars and smuggle them out of the country as miniature Eifel Towers.

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(original screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Holland
...
Pendlebury
Sidney James ...
Alfie Bass ...
Marjorie Fielding ...
Edie Martin ...
Miss Evesham
John Salew ...
Parkin
Ronald Adam ...
Turner
Arthur Hambling ...
Wallis
Gibb McLaughlin ...
Godwin
John Gregson ...
Farrow
Clive Morton ...
Station Sergeant
Sydney Tafler ...
Clayton
Marie Burke ...
Senora Gallardo
...
Chiquita
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Storyline

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 <rag.apa@email.apa.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He stole $3,000,000 in gold and that's a lot of BULLion! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

10 September 1951 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

De l'or en barres  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First feature film of Frank Forsyth. See more »

Goofs

Stanley Holloway's voice in the gold-melting scene sounds as if it had been dubbed by another actor, and his lip movements in that scene don't quite match the sound of his voice. See more »

Quotes

Pendlebury: Well, you might as well know. I was lying. I am a thief. It was madness to attempt it. We weren't cut out for crime, either of us.
Policeman: We?
Pendlebury: My partner and I.
Sidewalk Vendor: Your partner? Here, if you're working with the fence who's got them other pictures...
Policeman: Shh! Carry on.
Pendlebury: Oh I make no excuses. All my life it's been my ambition to surround myself with rare and beautiful things. Suddenly faced with this golden opportunity...
Sidewalk Vendor: Here, you call that picture of mine rare and beautiful?
Pendlebury: Since you will keep on interrupting...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 52nd Annual Academy Awards (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Old MacDonald Had a Farm
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Ernest Irving
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The most exuberant of Ealing Comedies
5 August 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is a gentle understated English comedy, a classic example of Ealing Studios' output of the 1950s. But paradoxically what makes it most remarkable is its sheer exuberance, the unconcealed glee of Holland and Pendlebury as they revel in the success of their audacious plan. Their first meeting after seeing each other at the police station, the drunken return to their rooms after their celebratory meal and of course the famous descent of the Eiffel Tower, their laughter echoing the giggles of the schoolgirls spiralling round and round before falling dizzily out at the bottom.

Painting and sculpture were Pendlebury's wings, his escape from his "unspeakably hideous" business occupation. But when Holland delicately introduces him to his own dream of twenty years' to escape - and not just metaphorically - from life as a nonentity, Pendlebury is drawn in. The scenes in the Balmoral Private Hotel in Lavender Hill are outstanding, and the sparse dialogue allows Alec Guinness and Stanley Holloway to shine as Holland suggests to Pendlebury how gold might be smuggled out of the country. "Hohohoho; By Jove, Holland, it is a good job we are both honest men." "It is indeed, Pendlebury."

Later in the film, the plot stands less well up to scrutiny but Guinness and Holloway are easily able to carry the viewers' attention. Chases that turn into farces often don't work in this style of British film, but here again Holland and Pendlebury carry such energy and excitement that they fit in well, and I am sure that even in nineteen fifties Britain, large numbers of the audience will have grasped the ironic humour of the policeman singing "Old MacDonald," in addition to those laughing at the straightforward ludicrousness of the scene.

Aficionados of British postwar comedy will enjoy this film, and because it lacks the dryness of say, "Kind Hearts and Coronets" or "The Ladykillers" it provides a more accessible introduction for those who are new to this most wonderful of genres.


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