IMDb > The Ladykillers (1955)
The Ladykillers
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The Ladykillers (1955) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
7.9/10   18,173 votes »
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Down 22% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writer:
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View company contact information for The Ladykillers on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
24 February 1956 (Belgium) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Meet "The Unholy Five"...The Most Befuddled Set of Assorted Thugs That Ever Fouled Up a Million Dollar Bank Robbery!! See more »
Plot:
Five diverse oddball criminal types planning a bank robbery rent rooms on a cul-de-sac from an octogenarian widow under the pretext that they are classical musicians. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations See more »
NewsDesk:
(45 articles)
Stash in the attic: the hunt for lost films
 (From The Guardian - Film News. 1 May 2014, 11:00 AM, PDT)

Curio: The Storied Career of Alec Guinness
 (From FilmExperience. 2 April 2014, 7:00 AM, PDT)

The acting roles of Richard Attenborough
 (From Den of Geek. 1 April 2014, 2:38 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Brilliant early dark comedy; much better than the remake See more (121 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Alec Guinness ... Professor Marcus
Cecil Parker ... Claude (a.k.a. 'Major Courtney')

Herbert Lom ... Louis (a.k.a. 'Mr. Harvey')

Peter Sellers ... Harry (a.k.a. 'Mr. Robinson')
Danny Green ... One-Round (a.k.a. 'Mr. Lawson')
Jack Warner ... The Superintendent

Katie Johnson ... The Old Lady
Philip Stainton ... The Sergeant
Frankie Howerd ... The Barrow Boy
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Madge Brindley ... Large Lady (uncredited)
Hélène Burls ... Hypatia (uncredited)

Kenneth Connor ... Cab Driver (uncredited)
Michael Corcoran ... Burglar (uncredited)
Harold Goodwin ... Parcels Clerk (uncredited)
Fred Griffiths ... Junk Man (uncredited)
Lucy Griffiths ... Miss Pringle (uncredited)
Phoebe Hodgson ... Constance (uncredited)
Vincent Holman ... Station Master (uncredited)
Anthony John ... Child (uncredited)
Stratford Johns ... Security Guard (uncredited)
Evelyn Kerry ... Amelia (uncredited)
Sam Kydd ... Second Cab Driver (uncredited)
Edie Martin ... Lettice (uncredited)
Jack Melford ... Detective (uncredited)
Robert Moore ... Constable (uncredited)
Arthur Mullard ... (uncredited)
Ewan Roberts ... Constable (uncredited)
George Roderick ... Radio Car Policeman (uncredited)
John Rudling ... Nervous Man (uncredited)
Leonard Sharp ... Pavement Artist (uncredited)
Peter Williams ... Detective at Parcels Office (uncredited)
Neil Wilson ... Policeman (uncredited)

Directed by
Alexander Mackendrick 
 
Writing credits
William Rose (story and screenplay)

Jimmy O'Connor  uncredited

Produced by
Michael Balcon .... producer
Seth Holt .... associate producer
 
Original Music by
Tristram Cary 
 
Cinematography by
Otto Heller (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Jack Harris 
 
Art Direction by
Jim Morahan 
 
Costume Design by
Anthony Mendleson 
 
Makeup Department
Alex Garfath .... makeup artist
Daphne Martin .... hair styles
 
Production Management
Hal Mason .... production supervisor
David Peers .... unit production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Tom Pevsner .... assistant director
Michael Birkett .... third assistant director (uncredited)
John Meadows .... second assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
W. Simpson Robinson .... scenic artist
Bert Davey .... assistant art director (uncredited)
Norman Dorme .... draughtsman (uncredited)
Tony Rimmington .... junior draughtsman (uncredited)
Jack Shampan .... draughtsman (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Stephen Dalby .... sound supervisor (as Steven Dalby)
Gordon Stone .... sound editor
Leo Wilkins .... recordist
E. Belcher .... assistant boom operator (uncredited)
Harry Fairbairn .... sound assistant (uncredited)
Ray Palmer .... dubbing crew (uncredited)
W. Robson .... sound camera operator (uncredited)
Bill Rowe .... dubbing crew (uncredited)
Eric Stockl .... dubbing crew (uncredited)
Don Wortham .... boom operator (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Sydney Pearson .... special effects
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Chic Waterson .... camera operator (as Chick Waterson)
Alan Bryce .... clapper loader (uncredited)
Harold Hanscomb .... still photographer (uncredited)
Ray Parslow .... focus puller (uncredited)
Herbert Smith .... focus puller (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Harry Aldous .... assistant editor
Jim Clark .... second assistant editor (uncredited)
Robin Clarke .... third assistant editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Dock Mathieson .... conductor
 
Other crew
Joan Bridge .... Technicolor colour consultant
Felicia Manheim .... continuity
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
91 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (colour) (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound Recording)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Australia:G | Finland:K-16 | Iceland:12 | Netherlands:14 | Norway:15 | Sweden:15 (original rating) | Sweden:11 (re-release) (1975) | UK:U | UK:U (video rating) (1989) (2002) (2006)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The Packard motor car used by the thieves as a getaway vehicle belonged to Michael Balcon.See more »
Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: During the parrot chase scene, Mr. Lawson is seen to fall over breaking the chair he is stuck in. Immediately after Mr. Harvey breaks the gramophone record the same shot is reused and Mr. Lawson apparently falls over breaking the same chair for a second time.See more »
Quotes:
[driving past the police station, they see their case of money sitting in the doorway]
Harry:I don't believe it. I don't *believe* it!
Louis:Shut up.
One-Round:It's just... sitting there... look, couldn't we...?
Professor Marcus:No one, I hope, is going to suggest that we steal it.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in 50 Films to See Before You Die (2006) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
Minuet in E majorSee more »

FAQ

Who actually dies?
Who got the money in the end?
Is this based on a book?
See more »
38 out of 48 people found the following review useful.
Brilliant early dark comedy; much better than the remake, 26 June 2004
Author: MovieAddict2014 from UK

London, 1955. Professor Marcus (Alex Guinness) plans to rob two armored cars with the help of a gang of crooks, played by an ensemble group of actors. They include: Louis (Herbert Lom), The Mayor (Cecil Parker), One-Round (Danny Green) and Harry (Peter Sellers). None of the men have previously met each other, but join together for the single heist.

Their strategic planning takes place in the upstairs of a Victorian home owned by Mrs. Wilberforce (Katie Johnson), a somewhat eccentric older woman who is under the impression that Professor Marcus and his "friends" are part of a music orchestra and unite daily to rehearse. This leads to a film comprised of misconceptions, confusion, and bumbling antics, as the Professor has to spend more of his time keeping Mrs. Wilberforce off their backs than devoting it to planning the robbery.

The film shares resemblance to Danny DeVito's "Duplex" in the scenes where Mrs. Wilberforce continuously interrupts the criminals' scheming, asking them to run errands for her. They reluctantly put up with her constant irritating questions and demands, since she is unknowingly a vital ingredient of their plan. They must use Mrs. Wilberforce in their robbery, and after a while she realizes this, then demands that they return the money, which leads them to the conclusion that they must kill the old woman or else risk losing their entire fortune. However, their constant mistakes and arguments only postpone the inevitable, and it soon seems that the group of tough guys aren't so tough after all. "I can't! I can't!" screams one of the criminals when he pulls the shortest toothpick and is handed the task of "whacking" the poor sweet lady.

All actors are at their peeks here -- Guinness as the Professor is superb, but Sellers in his screen debut is especially noteworthy. The script by William Rose relies on macabre humor rather than constant slapstick. Admittedly, I expected the former when I sat down to see the film, although I came away rather surprised at its sophistication.

The Coen Brothers remade the film in 2004, although the remake failed to capture the essence of this dark comedy. Made before political correctness (in the Coens' version there is the token black character of course), this is a delightfully irreverent black comedy. To be fair, most of the jokes don't hold up as well nowadays. It does not deliver a constant barrage of jokes, but rather a steady mix of black humor and plot -- a very good plot, too. One that keeps our interest and quite often manages to make us smile. "The Ladykillers" is a rare treat, better than the remake, a classic of the genre, and something that will be remembered years from now. It's a real gem of a movie, hard to devote long paragraphs to, much easier to devote 100 minutes of your life to.

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