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The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)

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 Eiffel Towers.

Director:

Charles Crichton

Writer:

T.E.B. Clarke (original screenplay)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alec Guinness ... Holland
Stanley Holloway ... Pendlebury
Sidney James ... Lackery
Alfie Bass ... Shorty
Marjorie Fielding Marjorie Fielding ... Mrs. Chalk
Edie Martin ... Miss Evesham
John Salew John Salew ... Parkin
Ronald Adam ... Turner
Arthur Hambling Arthur Hambling ... Wallis
Gibb McLaughlin ... Godwin
John Gregson ... Farrow
Clive Morton ... Station Sergeant
Sydney Tafler Sydney Tafler ... Clayton
Marie Burke ... Senora Gallardo
Audrey Hepburn ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French | Portuguese

Release Date:

10 September 1951 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

De l'or en barres See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ealing Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Gaumont Kalee) (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Audrey Hepburn was considered for a larger role in this film, but stage work made her unavailable. Alec Guinness was impressed with the young actress and arranged for her to appear in a bit part. This is considered to be Hepburn's first appearance in a major film. See more »

Goofs

When Shorty is shown practicing his drawing, the picture changes between the distant shot and the close shot. See more »

Quotes

Miss Evesham: [greeting Holland and Pendlebury on their tipsy return from a celebratory dinner] You naughty men, waking us all up at this hour.
Pendlebury: A thousand pardons.
Henry Holland: [Restraining Pendlebury as he's about to enter] Wipe your feet.
Pendlebury: A little celebration.
Miss Evesham: Already? Your holidays don't start till tomorrow.
Henry Holland: Today is tomorrow.
Pendlebury: "O polished perturbation! Golden care! That keep'st the ports of slumber open wide!" Henry IV, part two.
Miss Evesham: Good night, you naughty men. Don't forget to switch off.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Just a Minute: Episode #2.2 (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Rumba Rio
(uncredited)
Composed and performed by Ivor Mairants
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Breaking the bank
13 February 2005 | by jotix100See all my reviews

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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