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The Ladykillers (1955)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Crime | 24 February 1956 (Belgium)
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:

(story), (screenplay)
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3,345 ( 3,209)

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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Professor Marcus
... Claude (a.k.a. 'Major Courtney')
... Louis (a.k.a. 'Mr. Harvey')
... Harry (a.k.a. 'Mr. Robinson')
... One-Round (a.k.a. 'Mr. Lawson')
... The Superintendent
... The Old Lady - Mrs. Wilberforce
Philip Stainton ... The Sergeant
... 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:

Meet "The Unholy Five"...The Most Befuddled Set of Assorted Thugs That Ever Fouled Up a Million Dollar Bank Robbery!! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 February 1956 (Belgium)  »

Also Known As:

The Lady Killers  »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The robbery at the beginning of the film took place in Cheney Street near its junction with Battle Bridge Road, immediately to the west of Kings Cross station. See more »

Goofs

When all the money falls out of Lawson's cello case it scatters all over Mrs. Wilberforce's doorstep. By the time the criminals come back to try and cover up the story, all the money has disappeared. See more »

Quotes

Professor Marcus: [Professor Marcus and his gang are discussing how to do away with Mrs. Wilberforce] It ought to look like an accident.
Harry: How about suicide?
Claude: What do you mean?
Harry: Well, get her to write a note, you know. "I just couldn't stand it no more. Signed, Mrs. Wilberforce." And then somebody goes down and hangs her. Hmm?
Louis: Very funny.
Harry: You got a better idea?
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in The 50 Greatest Comedy Films (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Minuet in E major
(uncredited)
Written by Luigi Boccherini, arranged for string ensemble
[playing on the phonograph whenever the robbers are pretending to be practicing]
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A golden classic of British comedy cinema.
24 March 2000 | by See 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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