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Ladykillers, The

No amount of brow-creasing analysis into the allegorical meaning of this film can mute its sheer unalloyed delight as Alec Guinness plays Alistair Sim plays Professor Marcus, leader of the gang who carry out their robbery and return to Katie Johnson’s enchanted cottage of a house under their guise of a string ensemble. Peter Sellers, Danny Green, Herbert Lom and Cecil Parker, under their sinister tutor, find themselves totally confounded by their hostess even when they decide that the only course of action left open to them is to kill her. Sandy Mackendrick drags the laughs out of the darkness for this and although the whole thing is pervaded with a real air of the macabre, it never descends to a level that the viewer might find off-putting or disturbing. The fairytale landscape is also extended further from the tipsy little cottage to the sprawling black gloom of the marshalling yard across which Professor Marcus tries to make good his escape with locomotives thundering across the tracks bellowing smoke like great iron dragons.

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  1. lump516

    February 2, 2011 at 1:34 am

    As the victim of a positively criminal remake . . .

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