Well this is an absolute treat to get the chance to review this film that is often called the finest Ealing comedy ever made. This is an absolute gem that many have tried to reproduce ranging from stage productions, radio versions and even a 2004 remake starring Tom Hanks, but none of these even come close the the high caliber of the original.
So what’s it all about? This is the story of a group of small time crooks who bite off more than they can chew when they rent a room from a sweet old landlady called Mrs Wilberforce, who discovers their true identity whilst they are posing as a string quartet. Upon finding out who they really are, Mrs Wilberforce starts to meddle in their affairs and make their planned heist just that little bit more difficult. It is such a simple premise for a film but is very entertaining with a well written script and a marvelous cast of a-list celebrities who execute their roles sublimely.
The next thing that I would like to talk about is the cast and production team. Let’s start with the director, Alexander Mackendrick, who unfortunately passed away in 1993 and was frequently overlooked for his wonderful work. These include such titles as The Man in the White Suit, High and Dry and Sweet Smell of Success. Next up we have the writer of this masterpiece William Rose who is best known for his sublime work on Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Davey and The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming. I chose those three to use as examples because they also happen to be ones I have watched and can do a solid comparison to. In my eyes this is his better work with a witty and at points even satirical story that has managed to stand the test of time and is very enjoyable.
Now that we have dealt with the production team let’s talk about the extremely talented cast who bring this motion picture to life. first up we have Alec Guinness leading the team as Professor Marcus. This is an actor who has been in some of of my favourite films including Lawrence of Arabia, Raise the Titanic and my ultimate favorite films the original Star Wars trilogy. This production shows his acting capabilities aren’t just limited to the serious roles. Continuing our band of criminals we have Major Courtney who is portrayed by Cecil Parker. He has also been in many different films including The Pure Hell of St. Trinian’s, A Tale of Two Cities and even Caesar and Cleopatra. We have Peter Sellers as Mr Robinson, Herbert Lom as Mr Harvey and Danny Green as Mr Lawson and of course Katie Johnson as Mrs Wilberforce. This in my eyes is a timeless gem well worth watching on a Sunday afternoon after your Sunday dinner.
This Blu ray release has some wonderful extras available which include:
- A locations Featurette
- Audio interviews with producer Tom Pevsner and cinematographer David Peers
- Stills gallery
- An audio commentary by film historian Philip Kemp
- Intro by Terry Gilliam
- Forever Ealing documentary
- Interviews with Allan Scott, Terence Davies and Ronald Harwood
- Cleaning up The Ladykillers Featurette
- And finally we have the trailer.
This is an amazing blu ray well worth adding to your collection. It is available now in all good retailers at around £17. It is worth every penny.Enjoy.