"A little gem from Ealing Studios"
"Alec Guinness at his peak"
"Alec Guinness and Stanley Holloway make a great team"
"this film is a joy to watch"
The Lavender Hill Mob
directed by Charles Crichton, starring Alec Guinness and
A timid bank clerk, schemes to get back at his
employer, the Bank of England, by masterminding a foolproof heist. Not
everything goes according to plan however....
Directed by Charles Crichton, 1951's The Lavender Hill Mob is
the most ruefully thrilling of the Ealing Comedies. Alec Guinness plays a
bowler-hatted escort of bullion to the refineries. His seeming timidity,
weak 'r's and punctiliousness mask a typically Guinness-like patient
cunning. "I was aware I was widiculed but that was pwecisely the effect I
was stwiving to achieve". He's actually plotting a heist. With more
conventionally cockney villains Sid James and Alfie Bass in tow, as well
as the respectable but ruined Stanley Holloway, Guinness' perfect criminal
plan works in exquisite detail, then unravels just as exquisitely,
culminating in a nail-biting police car chase in which you can't help
rooting for the villains. The Lavender Hill Mob depicts a London
still up to its knees in rubble from World War II, a world of new hope but
continued austerity, a budding new order in which everything seems up for
grabs; as such it could be regarded as a lighter hearted cinematic cousin
to Carol Reed's 1949 masterpiece The
Third Man. The Lavender Hill Mob also sees the first,
fleeting on-screen appearance of Audrey Hepburn in the opening sequence.
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