Monday, 4 November 2013

The Lavender Hill Mob.

Mr Henry 'Dutch' Holland
Why does a rather cold and damp Sunday afternoon seem just the right time to settle down and watch the best known and some would say, the funniest of the Sir Michael Balcon produced Ealing comedies The Lavender Hill Mob (1951). Alec Guinness play’s a meek looking bank clerk who has spent the last 20 years supervising the transportation of gold across London for eight pound fifteen shillings per week and not the slightest inkling that his position will improve.  Preparing for his retirement he plans a daring gold bullion robbery but has no way to get the gold across the British channel to the more lucrative European markets. That is until he meets Stanley Holloway who has the facilities to melt down the ingots into souvenir Eiffel Towers. With the help of two career criminals, Sid James and Alfie Bass, they attempt the perfect crime.
A nice souvenir? 
Directed by Charles Crichton, who joined Ealing as an editor in the early 1940’s and remained at the studio until 1957, this classic Ealing comedy has been described as ‘a master class in neat plotting and incident[1] Unsurprisingly the screenplay won an Oscar for T E B Clarke who, it is alleged came up with the idea for the film while doing research for the movie Pool of London (1951) also it is said he consulted the Bank of England who gave him advice on how to stage the robbery! Alec Guinness gained an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role with the film winning a BAFTA Award for Best British Film.

Alec Guinness looks surprised to see Audrey Hepburn on the set!

[1] Angela Errigo.

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