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Films: L is for...

League of Gentlemen, The

It is almost forgotten now what a massive star Jack Hawkins was. Perhaps the only British film star worthy of the term who didn’t seem to decamp wholesale to Hollywood to confirm his status, as the likes of David Niven and that Micklewhite character did. So it’s always worth recalling just how good he was and we can’t do much better than point in the direction of this superlative British film directed by Basil Dearden and from the stable of J Arthur Rank. Some think it should have a lighter ending, but then some think that if their grannies had wheels they’d be handcarts. Leaving deranged wishful thinkers behind the end as it is suits Hawkins perfectly; brave, desperate, tragic, bold. Hawkins turns up in Theatre of Blood (see below) but only for no more than a cameo and clearly very ill.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Richardpd

    November 2, 2020 at 11:08 pm

    A great ensemble films with the league well played a motivated bunch of actors on top form.

    In spite of many of the characters being kicked out the Army for good reason, you want them to succeed in the robbery.

    Bryan Forbes on both writing & acting duties, with obligatory appearance by Nanette Newman, but doesn’t get in the way of things.

  2. THX 1139

    November 3, 2020 at 12:16 am

    Man, this is such a satisfying film, even with the unhappy ending because you know it’s inevitable, and the resignation that it’s all going to go tits up is so relatable. Brilliant casting, even down to the smaller roles (Oliver Reed as a ballet dancer!), but Jack Hawkins summed up an era of post-war masculinity on its way out as the 1960s dawned, and he did it so humanely. Jolly good show.

  3. Richardpd

    November 3, 2020 at 10:25 am

    It does show the end of an era after two (almost three) generations of most men serving in the forces.

    At this time National Service was gradually being phased out.

    The spoof inspection at the base is one of the highlights, especially as the league being ex-officers know what they are doing.

  4. Sidney Balmoral James

    November 3, 2020 at 9:31 pm

    Never mind Jack, who I always find a bit unconvincing, what about Nigel Patrick? He’s smoother than a billiard ball’s arse, and always brilliant in everything; particularly good in this, and his few scenes in The Mackintosh Man (otherwise a rather dull film).

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