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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pure matinee genius
this film will be on my dvd player forever, i watch it every month or so, best ever british movie, sellers, guinness, lom, parker and mr. danny green, little miss lop sidey, katie johnson, are the best laugh you will ever have, plus old london scenes, buy this and keep a spare copy in the cupboard, best of british here....ever,
Published on 23 Sep 2011 by D. W. Phillips

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OK if you want German subtitles
Very disappointed with DVD as it comes with German subtitles which cannot be removed and so spoils enjoyment of the film unless you are German and can't understand English! I thought it might be a one-off but the replacement DVD had the same problem.Pity because it's a great film in every other respect.
Published on 8 Feb 2012 by mitakuye oyasin


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pure matinee genius, 23 Sep 2011
By 
D. W. Phillips "john.T.chance," (croyden,london) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Ladykillers [DVD] (DVD)
this film will be on my dvd player forever, i watch it every month or so, best ever british movie, sellers, guinness, lom, parker and mr. danny green, little miss lop sidey, katie johnson, are the best laugh you will ever have, plus old london scenes, buy this and keep a spare copy in the cupboard, best of british here....ever,
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NICE BLURAY NO EXTRAS AT ALL, 16 Oct 2011
By 
Paul Scott (CENTRAL COAST,, N.S.W. Australia) - See all my reviews
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Great film,nice transfer to Blu-ray,though on this edition you only
get the Feature film,NO EXTRAS.
This is for the Standard Blu-ray case edition.

For extras you have to buy the previous release
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tea, buns and murder, 1 Dec 2005
By 
L. Davidson (Belfast, N.Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Ladykillers [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
"The Ladykillers" has stood up well to the ravages of time and although I have not seen the recent Hollywood remake , I am sure this original is much better. The film is sinister, atmospheric yet humourous; the criminal gang never really appear menacing despite their malevolent intentions towards their elderly landlady ,Mrs Wilberforce, with Alec Guinness playing the leading role as a criminal mastermind who,as part of his cunning plan,deliberately makes the old lady an unwitting accessory to a large robbery. I liked the film primarily because of it's unusual plot, rich characterisation and excellent acting. However the atmospheric locations also help to make "The Ladykillers" a memorable film ,especially Mrs Wilberforce's wonderful subsiding house perched high above a busy railway line. The presence of steam trains in the film is not only central to the plot ,but also helps to create a sense of motion, danger and uncertainty and adds significantly to the charm and attractiveness of this entertaining black comedy.
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60 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...And You Live Here...All Alone?" - The Ladykillers (1955) on BLU RAY (2010 Studio Canal Version), 20 May 2010
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
When I first saw "The Ladykillers" in its supposed 'restored' state a few years back on DVD, I was a little under whelmed. It still seemed very washed out to me. But I'm thrilled to report that this February 2010 Studio Canal Collection BLU RAY completely changes that.

Given what they had to work with (a very corroded print covered in stuck-on hairs, fingerprints, scratch lines, blemishes in the negative, double-imaging of colour) - the result is little short of miraculous. It isn't picture-perfect for sure and some scenes still have corrosion and blocking in them, but mostly it's a massive improvement. Finally the BLU RAY format has brought out all that detailed restoration work - and it's the very best I've ever seen this beloved British classic look. The extras are superlative too - generous and hugely informative.

Details first...

Country choices in set-up are: Australia, Denmark, Germany, Spain, France, Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Sweden, UK, USA and Japan

Overdubbed Languages are: French, German and Castellano (no subtitles available)

The Extras are:
1. Introduction by Terry Gilliam (a short & affectionate appraisal)
2. Commentary by Philip Kemp (a feature-length commentary by this noted expert that is full of superb detail and anecdotes - by far the best extra on here)
3. "Forever Ealing" Documentary (2002, voiced by Daniel Day-Lewis, features contributions from Colin Firth, John Mills, Richard Attenborough, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and many others)
4. Interview With Allan Scott (Screenwriter/Producer, superb comments on MacKendrick's directing techniques, plot structures, uses of colour etc)
5. Cleaning Up "The Ladykillers" (original versus restored split screen shots - no dialogue)
6. Interview with Ronald Harwood (Screenwriter & friend of Alexander "Sandy" Mackendrick the Director)
7. Interview with Terence Davies (Director, Writer - talks of MacKendrick's classes on Filmmaking)
8. Trailer
9. BD Live

The first time you 'really' see the improvement is when Mrs. Wilberforce hands in a basket at the local cop shop run by Jack Warner who placates her with wonderful gentility. And more too when the shadow of Alec Guinness addles up to her front door with 'danger' strings sounding - she opens it - and there he is - all sinister grin and grubby scarf. The colour is superb and hugely improved.

And then of course there's cast you couldn't buy now for love or money - each one a gem - the Classical String Quartet of thieves - Peter Sellers, Herbert Lom, Cecil Parker and the big lug Danny Green - each one absolutely necessary to the overall state of anarchy. There's even Frankie Howerd as the barrow boy.

But it's the perpetually making-tea old biddy played so brilliantly by Katie Johnson who steels the show. Like some perverse and malicious force of nature, Mrs. Wilberforce sweetly wanders through the entire film causing all sorts of mayhem and death and is blissfully unaware of it all. You find yourself chuckling uncontrollably all through the film and for days afterwards. Half the enjoyment of course is watching all of the boys thinking they're smarter than her and then after-a-while falling for her genuine British goodness - only to find that she kills them all (unintentionally of course)! The film also belongs just as much to Alec Guinness (who stepped in for Alistair Sims) the mastermind of the heist. He is just delicious - creepily brilliant as he slinks around Mrs. 'Lopsided' and her King's Cross St. Pancreas home. With a genuinely evil relish, he's all the time probing the unwitting old lady for holes he can use (dialogue above). Unbelievably good and it hasn't dated a jot either.

Did you know that Peter Sellers also does the voices of all the Parrots, or that Alec Guinness only found his Professor Marcus character through a set of protruding teeth and that because Katie Johnson was 79 when she took the part, Ealing were afraid that the role might actually kill the poor woman, so she had to be insured or she couldn't do the part (she stumped up the money herself). Well you do now - and you'll learn a whole lot more besides about this 1955 gem through this wonderful release.

When Mrs. Wilberforce asks in the local shop at the beginning of the movie "Has there been anything about the advertisement?" - I urge you to answer the call.

Treat yourself to "The Ladykillers" on BLU RAY - and then sit there with a big mug of tea and a digestive - tittering uncontrollably every few minutes at its sheer genius.

PS: for other superb restorations on BLU RAY, see also my reviews for "The Italian Job", "Saturday Night, Sunday Morning", "The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner", "Zulu", "The Dambusters", "Quo Vadis", "North By Northwest", "Cool Hand Luke", "The Prisoner - The Complete (TV) Series In High Definition", "Goldfinger", "Braveheart", "Snatch", "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and "The African Queen"
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart of Darkness (Comedy Division), 16 Sep 2010
By 
L. E. Cantrell (Vancouver, British Columbia Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Ladykillers [DVD] (DVD)
"Kind Hearts and Coronets," "The Ladykillers," "Monsieur Verdoux," and "Unfaithfully Yours" form the dark crown of black comedy on film. Only the last is American. Grim hilarity seems to be a particularly British specialty.

Reading through a lengthy series (49 as I write this) of Amazon US reviews is often rewarding. In this case the great majority of those who write of this film lavish praise on the cast and plot. A substantial sub-class of reviewers felt it necessary to denounce the recent remake with Tom Hanks. (And quite right they were, too!) One reviewer praised the film and then gave a miserly single star in what must have been sheer error.

A single reviewer despised the film for its slow pace. In a brisk 91 minutes "The Ladykillers" offers the planning of a heist, its execution and the crumbling of all criminal expectations, along with the increasingly ironic deaths of five crooks. As Basil Fawlty might ask, what more does the reviewer want--herds of wildebeest rushing across the plains while Krakatoa explodes in the background?

A few reviewers noted that Alec Guinness was doing a masterly imitation of the great Alistair Sim. On that point, I have always wondered why Ealing didn't just cast Sim in the role in the first place. Sim starred in a deliciously black little comedy called "The Green Man" in which he played a master assassin foiled by a witless door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. "The Green Man" misses the exalted status of the films listed at the beginning of this piece by the narrowest of margins. Sim was also in "The School for Scoundrels," of course, but that small gem is just a little too cheery for true black comedy.

There are excellent summaries of the plot and insightful commentaries on the actors. I feel no need to repeat either here. I shall, then, take up three points that no-one has mentioned.

Billing in this film is odd. Guinness is clearly intended to be the star. The four other members of the gang are prominently listed. But 75 year-old Katie Johnson, who actually turned out to be the star of the picture and earned the British equivalent of an Oscar to prove it--not to mention the plain fact that she ate Guinness alive in every scene they shared--is listed as one of the supporting players in seventh or eighth spot.

The set design is stupendous. Mrs. Wilberforce's tiny, lopsided house on top of the railway bridge, idiosyncratic plumbing and all, is one of the greatest locations ever put on film. That house becomes as much a character in the movie as Mrs. W, herself, or any of the gang.

The musical score is quite perfect for the film--as good in its small way as the score of "Alexander Nevsky." It begins in unexpected formality with an Elgar-like symphonic introduction. Soon Mrs. Wilberforce appears and she comes with her own theme, almost a leitmotiv: "The Last Rose of Summer" played on a barrel organ. The heist has its theme, too, the Boccherini String Quintet (deedle-deedle-dee-dum-ti-dee-dee). Once heard, it is never to be forgotten. When all is well with the heist, so it is with the Quintet (deedle-deedle-dee-dum-ti-dee-dee). When difficulties arise, the Quintet suffers. At one point, a recording of the Boccherini is removed from a phonograph and intentionally smashed. As the movie swirls toward ultimate darkness, Boccherini disappears and the score generates a new theme: bodies plunging over the railroad bridge (harummm-THUD). Again, once heard, never forgotten. At the end of the film, a new and better day for Mrs. W is hailed by the reappearance of the barrel organ and "The Last Rose of Summer."

"The Ladykillers," admittedly makes demands on its viewers that are seldom to be found in contemporary pictures. It requires, for example, an attention span greater than that of a gnat. And it neglects to provide even a single flatulence joke for the relief of the more anxious members of the audience. Nevertheless it's a great film.

Five (deedle-deedle-dee-dum-ti-dee-dee) stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OK if you want German subtitles, 8 Feb 2012
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This review is from: The Ladykillers [DVD] (DVD)
Very disappointed with DVD as it comes with German subtitles which cannot be removed and so spoils enjoyment of the film unless you are German and can't understand English! I thought it might be a one-off but the replacement DVD had the same problem.Pity because it's a great film in every other respect.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Black Comedy, 6 Oct 2010
By 
Colin Smith (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Ladykillers [DVD] (DVD)
This is probably the best Ealing comedy ever made. A great black comedy, its the story about a gang of crooks whose elderly landlady accidently discovers their responsibility for a robbery. One by one the crooks attempt - and fail to bump her off. All the cast are superb, especially Alec Guinness and Herbert Lom, as two of the crooks who bicker between themselves throughout the movie. Forget the inferior Tom Hanks remake, this is the original and best.

P.S. I cannot comment on the picture quality on this copy of the movie, as I bought the other Studio Canal copy of this on the "Ealing Comedy DVD Collection" which also features "Kind Hearts And Coronets" "The Lavender Hill Mob" and "The Man In The White Suit". An animated picture of Alec Guinness features on the cover of the box, picture quality on all four films is very good.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lolly Pops, 26 Sep 2005
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Ladykillers [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
I recently purchased The Horse's Mouth (1958) from Amazon as well as "The Alec Guinness Collection" which includes The Ladykillers (1955) plus four others: Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949), The Man in the White Suit (1951), The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), and The Captain's Paradise (1953). Frankly, I was amazed how well each of the six films has held up since I first saw it.

For me, the most memorable performance in this film is provided by Katie Johnson as Mrs. Louisa Alexandra Wilberforce who rents a flat to Professor Marcus (Guinness) and his companions. The plot such as it is involves their theft of 60,000 pounds and subsequent efforts to remove it from a locker they have rented to store it temporarily. For about half of this film, brilliantly directed by Alexander Mackendrick (who also directed Guinness in The Man in the White Suit, 1951), Mrs. Wilberforce believes that Marcus and his friends are honest citizens and amateur musicians. When she learns that they are thieves, her first concern is not for her personal safety (which is never in doubt, anyway) but to return "the lolly" to its rightful owners. Complications include her elderly friends who appreciatively swarm around the Marcus group during a hilarious afternoon tea party. One development of special interest to me is the fact that, except for the psychopath Louis Harvey (Lom), the thieves do not want Mrs. Wilberforce harmed in any way and begin to feel protective toward her. This proves to be significant as the plot proceeds gracefully to a conclusion I did not anticipate.

Given the number of deaths which occur in this film, it seems inappropriate to describe it as "charming" and "delightful" but it is nonetheless. For that, I give most of the credit to the performance by Katie Johnson under Mackendrick's direction and with the strong support of Guinness who obviously defers to her prominence in so many important scenes. The supporting cast is first-rate. Yes, that really is a very young Peter Sellers in the role of Harry Robinson who is given relatively little to say and do. Danny Green is excellent as One Round, providing the muscle needed to complete the plan devised by the group's brain, Marcus.

For these and other reasons, this is my favorite among the five films in "The Alec Guinness Collection."
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Ealing Comedy!, 29 July 2004
This review is from: The Ladykillers [DVD] [1955] (DVD)
You can tell just by looking at the front cover of this film with the five peculiar faces of the 'ladykillers' themelves, that its going to be a winner, and when you start watching it, this first thought is confirmed.
'The Ladykillers', a classic ealing comedy from the 1950's is basically about a old lady called Mrs Wilberforce, who's husband has died and she now lives with her parrot called General Gordon in a big old house in London. Then one day her advertisment in the local newsagents for a lodger is answered by Proffessor Marcus a very strange man who rents the room and asks if his music group can have their meetings their. Mrs Wilberforce who loves music agrees and soon the rest of the group arrive with their instrument cases. Like Proffessor Marcus they are a peculiar bunch however Mrs Wilberforce is just happy to have some company and so the group go off upstairs to play their music.
We soon realise that they are not a group of musicians at all and i guess most people had their supicions when they came through the door. In fact their real purpose in staying with Mrs Wilberforce is to plan a robbery which they carry out successfully, and send Mrs Wilberforce to go and collect the money from the train station so that it doesn't look at all suspicous. Eventually though, Mrs Wilberforce finds out what has happened and threatens to go to the police, and the gang realise that she has to be stopped draw straws on who is going to kill her....
The gang of criminals are a very sterotypical bunch; the big muscular one where its a shame he didn't have half as much brain as he does biceps; the smart crafty one who plans the whole thing; the devious one who is only in it for himself and will betray the other if he has to. You get the idea.
All the actors playing the five criminals were really on top form; Alec Guiness as Proffessor Marcus; Cecil Parker as Claude (a.k.a. Major Courtney); Herbert Lom as Louis (a.k.a. Mr. Harvey); Peter Sellers as Harry (a.k.a. Mr. Robinson); and Danny Green as the tough One-Round (a.k.a. Mr. Lawson). One-Round's nickname coming from the fact that no one every lasted one round in the ring with him.
Over time 'The Ladykillers' really has become a true classic and when you watch it you can see exactly why its still alive and just as funny today as it was back in 1955. A really funny film that will entertain everyone and make even the most serious people laugh, becuase believe me it really is that funny.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Signal Changes, 1 July 2014
This review is from: The Ladykillers [DVD] (DVD)
A slice of comic, satirically perfect British life; better too because it's so weirdly unique. The plot is beautifully crafted; characterization is not subtle but brilliantly delineated. American responses are often generous - thank you. No one in the film is superfluous: everything and everyone contributes, unlike many other national cinemas. Not hilarious, but lastingly comedic.
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