7.8/10
23,385
131 user 80 critic

The Ladykillers (1955)

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.

Writers:

William Rose (story), William Rose (screenplay)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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 - Mrs. Wilberforce
Philip Stainton Philip Stainton ... The Sergeant
Frankie Howerd ... The Barrow Boy
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Storyline

A gang planning a 'job' find themselves living with a little old lady, who thinks they are musicians. When the gang set out to kill Mrs Wilberforce, they run into one problem after another, and they get what they deserve. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Titan of Comedy in his most hilarious frolic! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 February 1956 (Belgium) See more »

Also Known As:

The Lady Killers See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Professor Marcus and Mrs. Wilberforce talk about the proverb "The eyes are the windows on the soul" and wonder who first said it. In fact, several people have expressed this thought over the centuries, including Cicero and Shakespeare and it can be found in the Bible (Matthew, chapter 6, verses 22 to 23). See more »

Goofs

The parrot Mrs Wilberforce clutches after it is rescued is clearly stuffed. See more »

Quotes

[Professor Marcus enters the phone booth right as the phone rings. On the other end, Claude is in another phone booth outside the train station, watching Mrs. Wilberforce collect their trunk]
Professor Marcus: Now, Major, before we start, let's press button A, shall we?... That's better... Major. Ma - Major! I want you to keep calm, speak quietly, and concentrate. Have you got that? Splendid. Mrs. W. should be coming into view just about...
[hums]
Professor Marcus: ... now... Now she's driving away.
[She does, but comes back]
Professor Marcus: . ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, roses are shown, to highlight the fact that William Rose wrote the screenplay. See more »

Connections

Referenced in 50 Films to See Before You Die (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Silver Threads Among The Gold
(1873)
Music by H.P. Danks
Lyrics by Eben E. Rexford
(played and sung in the parlour of Mrs. Wilberforce's house)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A golden classic of British comedy cinema.
24 March 2000 | by terraplaneSee all my reviews

When film studios are churning out rubbish like 'The Full Monty' and 'American Pie' under the heading of comedy, you have to wonder what sort of brainless morons are filling cinemas with laughter. It is nothing short of tragic that gargantuan amounts of cash are being expended on useless blow-outs like Titanic,Star Wars- The Phantom Menace, and just lately, The Beach. When Ealing Studios ceased production, the cinema world was suddenly very much poorer.

The Ladykillers is undoubtedly one of the finest comedies ever made, certainly the best Ealing film of them all. Here is a film from the golden age of British cinema that will forever amuse and entertain. It is easy to be nostalgic about these old films but they are still held in high regard for a good reason-they were made by people who knew the art of film making. Moreover, they were made at a time when a trip to the cinema was still a special occasion. So they were made with love and care and with respect for the audience.

The Ladykillers is unusual for an Ealing comedy, being made in colour. It would have worked just as well in black and white, possibly even etter.( I have watched it in black and white on TV by turning the colour controls off!) The location shots, which were done around the back of King's Cross station in London, capture forever something of the old London I used to know as a child.

I suppose they best description for this film is a comedy of a bank robbery gone wrong. The ensemble acting is of the highest order; Katie Johnson as Mrs. Wilberforce just about steals the film from Alec Guinness. The hilarious script leaves you wanting more, even though a lot of the comedy is based on sight gags; the extended scene when the supposed 'musicians' come downstairs one by one while the Boccherini Quintet continues playing is wonderful, as are the moments involving General Gordon the parrot. The cinematography is beautifully realised and so British.

Having read all of the comments on this film, I was suprised that so many American film lovers liked this film - British comedy like this doesn't usually travel well across the water. So a sincere big thank you to all of you guys over there who commented favourably on The Ladykillers.

I don't think that we will ever see the return of institutions like Ealing Studios again, so The Ladykillers should be watched, enjoyed and loved by generations of film lovers to come.


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