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The Lavender Hill Mob (60th Anniversary Edition) - Digitally Restored [Blu-ray] 
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Holland (Alec Guinness), is a shy retiring man who works as a bank transfer agent for the delivery of gold bullion. One day he befriends Pendlebury (Stanley Holloway), a maker of souvenirs. Holland remarks that, with Pendlebury's smelting equipment, one could forge the gold into harmless-looking toy Eiffel Towers and smuggle the gold into France. Soon after, they gain the services of professional criminals Lackery (Sid James) and Shorty (Alfie Bass) and the four plot their crime, unaware of the pitfalls which lie ahead.
An enduring classic from director Charles Crichton, The Lavender Hill Mob features an early screen appearance from Audrey Hepburn and was included on the British Film Institute’s list of the 100 Best British Films of the 20th Century.
- Behind the Scenes stills gallery
- Introduction by Martin Scorsese
- Excerpt from BECTU interview with Charles Crichton
- Digitally restored trailer
- Good Afternoon: Mavis interviews TEB Clarke
Directed by Charles Crichton, who would much later direct John Cleese in A Fish Called Wanda (1988), 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. --David Stubbs --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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Perhaps it is the subtle writing, economy of direction, skill of the actors, mastery of the photography? I cannot put my finger on it, but then who wants to analyse such art when watching them is so much more rewarding.
The Amazon product description is accurate regarding the collection contents, so there is no point in repeating it.
Tha Ladykillers is perhaps my favourite, with Alec Guinness and his extra teeth masterfully convincing as the oleaginous villain, and dear, sweet, elderly Katie Johnson stealing the film as the little old landlady. One feels like being in the shaky old house above the railway tunnel, the atmosphere is so well conjured. The screenplay won a BAFTA and was Academy nominated. While the film is actually shot in colour, it is all so muted and grimy that it could well have been B&W, since ones memories of it are almost always in B&W!
Kind Hearts and Coronets has moments of brilliance, some all too brief - such as the exploding caviar, and is a masterpiece of poetic revenge applied to all the members of the D'Ascoyne family. I feel that the pace is perhaps just a little bit too gentle when considering the homicidal nature of the plot, but what do I know when so many experts rate this film so highly. Again, the photography is simply brilliant.
The Lavender Hill Mob is a fore-runner to the classic Crime Caper Movies, now endemic. It won an Academay Award and a Bafta, and the complicated plot just about hangs together throughout the film without too many glaring loopholes. My memories of it are not in the same affectionate nature as the previous two films, but somehow once the DVD is running I always find myself drawn into it until the end!
The Man in the White Suit is biting satire on big business and the trade unions. Somehow I never liked this film so much as the other three, but again once it is running one is drawn into it, and it is difficult not to enjoy watching to the end. Alec Guinness is brilliantly believable and I think carries the film. The B&W actually helps the film, one sees the colours in ones mind, and I think a colour version would be less effective.
All four of these films should be in anyone's movie collection, four in one box saves on shelf space!
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