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

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Overview

User Rating:
7.8/10   21,444 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 21% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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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 »
User Reviews:
A classic crime comedy that evidently can't be updated. See more (129 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 (a.k.a. 'Mrs. Wilberforce')
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)
George Hilsdon ... Security Van Driver (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)
Aileen Lewis ... Lady Leaving Kings Cross Station (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 stylist
 
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 by) (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound Recording) (uncredited)
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:PG | Australia:G | Finland:K-16 | Germany:16 (nf) | 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:
William Rose claimed to have dreamed the entire story from start to finish.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: (approx 28m) As the crooks are driving off in the getaway car, a policeman starts to chase them along the empty street.. The next close-up shot of the policeman, shows him looking along the street where a parked van has now appeared, with a trolley on the pavement next to it and a man standing next to the trolley..See more »
Quotes:
[At the police station]
Junk Man:And it's a brown horse, eleven years old, and answers to the name of Dennis.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Silver Threads Among The GoldSee more »

FAQ

Is this based on a book?
How many ladies die?
How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
See more »
62 out of 68 people found the following review useful.
A classic crime comedy that evidently can't be updated., 15 February 2005
Author: Michael DeZubiria (wppispam2013@gmail.com) from Luoyang, China

The humor in this movie is not only British, which is notoriously misunderstood by American audiences (and vice versa), which is odd because both the writer and director were American, but it is also now five decades old. Only the best American comedies have lasted anywhere near that long (consider, for example, the sad fate of many of the movies that people thought were really funny in the 80s – Police Academy, anyone?). The reason The Ladykillers has not only survived but has now been remade is because the comedy in it is not only effective, but it is intelligent, and it is very difficult not to be impressed by a comedy with a brain.

Alec Guinness is in top form as the leader of the gang, whose members reflects criminals of all walks of life. The ingenious plan is to rent out a room from a sweet old lady while they pull off a heist. The comedy, for me, lies in the difference between what is planned and what is played out, particularly in the difficulties that the gang of criminals have in outsmarting a sweet old lady who acts like a grandmother supervising a group of unruly grandchildren.

The problem that the movie has is that the pace is very slow and much of the comedy has faded over the years, but structurally and intellectually it remains a respectable film, even more now in comparison to its disastrous remake. What went wrong in the remake is that they did not maintain who the character of Mrs. Wilberforce was, because it was the juxtaposition of her as a frail old woman surrounded by toughened criminals that made it funny when things kept going wrong in their plan. In the remake she is replaced by Mrs. Munson, a tough-talking woman who was to be feared from the outset. There is no irony in being overpowered by someone more powerful than yourself from the outset, which I imagine is why the remake also featured Marlon Wayans and a case of irritable bowel syndrome, which I have never seen used in an even remotely amusing way.

While the original film may be a bit too slow for modern audiences, it is indeed charming the way 87-year-old Mrs. Wilberforce continually foils their carefully thought out plans, many times inadvertently. Alec Guinness is wonderful as the band's leader, wearing outrageous false teeth, nearly rivaling Lon Chaney as the man of a thousand faces, and Peter Sellers is one of the criminals as well. I'm no expert about British comedies or Alec Guinness' early works, but I can certainly tell enough from watching this movie that the Coen Brothers' remake did nothing to impress the British about Hollywood's respect for the classics.

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