Classic Movie 2019

Classic Movie Of The Week: The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)

Starring: Alec Guiness, Stanley Holloway, Sidney James, Alfie Bass

Director: Charles Crichton

A bank clerk (Guiness) who dreams of a better life enlists a souvenir maker (Holloway) to help him steal his bank’s gold and smuggle it out of the country as Eiffel Towers. But things go hilariously wrong when some of the statues are sold to some school girls and must be got back before they reveal the crime.

Ealing comedies are rightly famous for their dark humour and excellent performances on non-Hollywood budgets. The Lavender Hill Mob is one of the finest and most well known of this studio’s output. Alec Guiness always gives a masterful performance and manages to by very funny and sympathetic, and teamed up with Holloway, they are a wonderful duo.

It struck me as amusing that they are trying to get the gold away concealed as souvenirs, because while the point it that a lot of these products were made in the UK at the time, now they would all be made in China or somewhere further off, presumably.

I love the innocence and ordinariness of these films. Set in London, but not in the famous parts or the homes of the wealthy, (Lavender Hill after all is just an ordinary suburb in South London) the characters are all ordinary people who innocently either go along with what they’re told or get in the way in pure innocence. Crime usually doesn’t pay in these films, but part of you hopes it will, because the bad guys are just desperate ordinary folks and also lovable main characters.

A classic comedy and a wonderful British film, with the tiniest of cameos from a very young Audrey Hepburn in the opening, this film is a must see.

See It If: you’ve ever dreamed of making it rich and running away to Rio…. A classic British comedy from the wonderful Ealing Studios.

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