7.7/10
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63 user 53 critic

The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime | 10 September 1951 (Sweden)
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 twenty 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 afterwards, 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:

The men who broke the bank - and lost the cargo! 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

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Henry Holland: I was a potential millionaire, yet I had to be satisfied with eight pounds, fifteen shillings, less deductions.
See more »

Connections

Featured in London: The Modern Babylon (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Small is beautiful
15 September 1999 | by TipuSee all my reviews

What hits you first about LHM is its smallness. It is a small film (78 min) made with a small budget about some small people. But their smallness doesn't stop them from dreaming the impossibly big - rob the Bank of England! In fact it is this very smallness & unobtrusiveness that gives Alec Guinness & Stanley Holloway - bank clerk & artist respectively - their chance.

The film, told in an intelligent flashback, is divided into 3 segments. First is the plotting. A mild mannered bank clerk meets a minor artist. Both want to get out of their seedy Lavender Hill boarding house & nondescript existance. Both look past their glory days. Yet together they have the opportunity to pull off a brilliant crime.

Then comes the heist. A surprisingly simple operation perfectly (almost!) executed. Finally the escape - getting the gold outside the country into the 'continental blackmarket'. Alas, the movie being made in the good old days when crime didn't pay, our heroes must suffer. But by then they have given us enough joy & adventure for us to forgive their one tragic slip.

This is definitely one of the best comedies Ealing studios made in the '50s (my other favourite is the vastly underrated 'Hue & Cry' where Alistair Sim gives a typical quirky performance & the tipsy 'Whiskey Galore'). Holloway & Guinness acted in many of them. They usually played very stiff upper British lip polite, eccentric, but excitable characters. In this movie they decide they are familiar enough to ask each other their first names only after they have robbed a bank together! When Holloway realises they can pull it off, his face is hidden in the shadows as he slowly tells Guinness, 'Thank God Holland, we are both honest men' - a line which I think summarises the entire movie.

The reason this movie is so amusing even today is that it is very tightly scripted (Tibby Clark won an Oscar for his effort) & brilliantly realised by the ensemble cast. As far as caper films go this has half the gadgetry of 'Entrapment' but twice the fun.

This is the 3rd time I am seeing this movie & I enjoyed it as much as I did the first time. Please see this one!


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