The last of the great Ealing Comedies, The Ladykillers is a wonderfully macabre black comedy that really does improve with age. Ealing stalwart Alec Guinness delivers a typically mesmerising performance as Professor Marcus, a criminal mastermind.
His latest plan is to dupe a sweet old lady, Mrs Wilberforce (Johnson), into picking up the loot for him and his mismatched gang after they rob a security van. The gang consists of a genial bruiser (Green); Jack-the-lad rogue (Sellers); doddery old army type (Parker); and cold-hearted assassin (Lom). Under the guise of playing string quintets, all five meet at her house to plan the robbery.
The actual heist is probably one of the easiest in cinematic history, but the fun and games all follow afterwards. If you've seen The Ladykillers before, make sure you see it on the big screen to appreciate Alexander Mackendrick's gothic approach.
Running Time: 1hr 31mins
BBFC Advice: PG
Director(s): Alexander Mackendrick
Year of release: 1955