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  1. #41
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    A charming and enjoyable film much loved in our house,i finally got the radio play of this and its as near to the film as it can be.If you use torrents there are plenty of sites that have this radio play.

  2. #42
    Member Country: England The_Gronk's Avatar
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    Rumour has it he used it to make Obi-wan's cloak a few years later.

  3. #43
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    I'd love to track that down and hear it as well - I'll look for something on the web.



    Ladykillers is also a favorite here in this household - we can never seem to watch it too frequently.



    For us, it was our first time seeing Sir Alec in a comedic role. It's the film that introduced me to Ealing - and I've been a fan of nearly everything produced by the studio every since that time.



    Egraphic

  4. #44
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    Favourite here, for lot's orf reasons. I remember when it was first shown by the BBC in the late 1970's, quite an event.



    One Round steals quite a lot of the scenes for me.

  5. #45
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    The Ladykillers was 'a cartoon of Britain's corruption'
    As a new stage play version of The Ladykillers prepares to open, we look at William Rose's original screenplay, an 'ironic joke' about the decline of Britain.
    Herbert Lom, Peter Sellers, Cecil Parker, Alec Guinness, Katie Johnson and Danny Green in 'The Ladykillers' - 1955
    By Martin Chilton, Digital Culture Editor

    1:00PM GMT 01 Nov 2011


    The Ladykillers, one of the best-loved British films of all time, was "an ironic joke" about the decline of the Empire and "a composite cartoon of Britain's corruption".

    A new stage version of the celebrated Ealing comedy, adapted by Father Ted writer Graham Linehan, opens at London's Gielgud Theatre on 26 November.

    Linehan has said that the play will contain the action within the setting of a run-down Edwardian King's Cross house and would be "more of a farce" than the original movie.

    The 1955 film, which was set in postwar London, starred Alec Guinness, was directed by Alexander Mackendrick and written by William Rose.

    Rose was born in Jefferson City, Missouri, and educated at Columbia University, New York. Rose went to Finland to fight for that country after the Soviet Union invaded in 1939. Rose later joined the Canadian army before the United States entered World War II. He finished the war a lieutenant colonel after being stationed in England. He stayed here after marrying an English girl and joined Ealing Studios.

    Rose had developed a keen eye and ear for English eccentricities and this bore fruit in his 1953 screenplay Genevieve.

    One night he dreamt up the idea for The Ladykillers, as Mackendrick once recalled: "Bill woke up one night with the idea complete in his head. He had dreamed of a gang of criminals who commit a successful robbery while living in a little house belonging to a sweetly innocent little old lady."

    In a fascinating interview with Cineaste in 2005, Boston-born Mackendrick (who was raised in Glasgow) explained the thinking behind Ladykillers. He said:

    "The fable of The Ladykillers is a comic and ironic joke about the condition of postwar England. After the war, the country was going through a kind of quiet, typically British but nevertheless historically fundamental revolution. Though few people were prepared to face up to it, the great days of the Empire were gone forever. British society was shattered with the same kind of conflicts appearing in many other countries: an impoverished and disillusioned upper class, a brutalised working class, juvenile delinquency among the Mods and Rockers, an influx of foreign and potentially criminal elements, and a collapse of 'intellectual' leadership. All of these threatened the stability of the national character.

    "Though at no time did Bill Rose or I ever spell this out, look at the characters in the film. The Major (played by Cecil Parker), a conman, is a caricature of the decadent military ruling class. One Round (Danny Green) is the oafish representative of the British masses. Harry (Peter Sellers) is the spiv, the worthless younger generation. Louis (Herbert Lorn) is the dangerously unassimilated foreigner. They are a composite cartoon of Britain's corruption. The tiny figure of Mrs Wilberforce (Wilberforce was the name of the 19th-century idealist who called for the abolition of slavery) is plainly a much diminished Britannia. Her house is in a cul-de-sac. Shabby and cluttered with memories of the days when Britain's navy ruled the world and captains gallantly stayed on the bridge as their ship went down, her house is structurally unsound. Dwarfed by the grim landscape of railway yards and screaming express trains, it is Edwardian England, an anachronism in the contemporary world.

    "Bill Rose's sentimental hope for the country that he and I saw through fond but sceptical eyes was that it might still, against all logic, survive its enemies. A theme, a message of sorts, one that I felt very attached to. But one that it took quite some time for me to consciously recognise and appreciate."

    Ladykillers was Ealing's final triumph. The Coen brothers re-made the film in 2004 (starring Tom Hanks and set in America) but it failed to impress many critics.

    Rose, who died in Jersey in 1987 at the age of 72, was twice married and twice divorced. He retained a lifelong affection for England - especially its cricket He was nominated four times for a screenwriting Oscar: for Genevieve, The Lady Killers and The Russians Are Coming, winning only once, for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. Although he had created some archetypal British villains - Cecil Parker's seedy ex-officer Major Courtney and Peter Sellers's cockney spiv Harry almost steal the film from the marvellous Alec Guinness - Rose didn't think they were all bad. They weren't quite wicked enough to take the inevitable step necessary to avoid their own ruin and kill the 'Sweet Old Lady'. Rose once declared that the the moral of the was: 'In the Worst of All Men there is a Little Bit of Good that can Destroy Them.'

    And the little old Louisa Wilberforce, so marvellously played by Katie Johnson, got to keep the stolen money, of course, because no one believed her tale of corruption.

  6. #46
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    IIRC Charles Barr's theory is that it's a parable of the post-war Labour government (the gang) with the Tories (Katie Johnson) taking credit for their work

  7. #47
    Senior Member Country: UK Windthrop's Avatar
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    Now there is a new stage version heading towards the west end I suspect Herbert Lom (the only major survivor of the film) will be wheeled out for an interview. It isn't the first stage version - the was in the late 90s with Dulcie Gray, Victor Spinetti and Tim Brook-Taylor.

  8. #48
    Senior Member Country: England Johnallan's Avatar
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    In his book ‘LETHAL INNOCENCE – The Cinema of Alexander Mackendrick’, Philip Kemp quotes some of Mackendrick’s fascinating anecdotes about the film.

    Although the director had set his heart on Katie Johnson playing the part of Mrs Wilberforce he met with fierce opposition from Associate Producer Seth Holt who was concerned that such a large role would kill 77-year old Miss Johnson. So another slightly younger, more robust actresses was auditioned and even signed a contract but it seems she went home one day, caught a chill and died. Does anyone know who that actress may have been?

    Also Katie Johnson was so desperate to play Mrs Wilberforce after years of having small parts only she even offered to contribute to cost of insuring herself from her own savings.

    I can recommend this book to anyone interested in Alexander Mackendrick and his films.

  9. #49
    Senior Member Country: Europe Bernardo's Avatar
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    What I took away from the film and is immediately in my mind's eye when ever I hear references to the title is Alistair Sim's in-character appearance and demeanour. That was the show stealer for me.

  10. #50
    Senior Member Country: UK Windyridge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernardo View Post
    What I took away from the film and is immediately in my mind's eye when ever I hear references to the title is Alistair Sim's in-character appearance and demeanour. That was the show stealer for me.
    Except he wasn't in it.

  11. #51
    Senior Member Country: UK Windthrop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Windyridge View Post
    Except he wasn't in it.
    Sim's daughter said that her father got a lot of compliments and kudos from that film

    Wonder if Sim was offered the part. I know Sellers part was an Attenborough cast-off.

  12. #52
    Senior Member Country: England faginsgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Windthrop View Post
    I know Sellers part was an Attenborough cast-off.
    I didn`t know that now!

  13. #53
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Windthrop View Post
    Sim's daughter said that her father got a lot of compliments and kudos from that film

    Wonder if Sim was offered the part.
    I've never heard any mention that he was. But Sir Alec certainly did it as a tribute to Alastair's performance in London Belongs to Me

    Steve

  14. #54
    Senior Member Country: UK Windyridge's Avatar
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    Alec Guinness wrote that he immediately asked "but this is meant for Alastair Sim surely?" when he was offered the role.

  15. #55
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    Following a private screening of The LadyKillers to an 'over-50's' club, I asked the audience if Alec Guinness reminded them of another actor. Quite a few of them said Alastair Sim.

  16. #56
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    My favourite film: The Ladykillers | Film | guardian.co.uk

    My favourite film: The Ladykillers

    In the latest instalment of our writers' favourite film series [http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/series/my-favourite-film" title="], and ahead of the opening night of Graham Linehan's stage version [http://www.guardian.co.uk/extra/2011...a-ladykillers], Catherine Shoard falls for the warm wit of Ealing Studios' 1955 comedy about dark deeds and a not-so-doddery old dear

    Is this a miscarriage of justice? Write your own review here [http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/movie/36206/ladykillers" title="] ? or target your reforming zeal below the line

    Catherine Shoard
    Thursday December 8 2011
    guardian.co.uk


    My favourite film: The Ladykillers | Film | guardian.co.uk


    Three Christmases ago, the Guardian moved from Farringdon Road [http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/gallery/2008/dec/15/1" title="] to a patch of regenerating edgeland [http://www.marionshoard.co.uk/Docume...Landscape.pdf] north-east of Kings Cross. And, ever since, there's been an unbeatable new boon to working here: you're never more than a hop or a skip [http://www.kingscrosscentral.com/skip_garden" title="] from where they shot [http://www.martinunderwood.f9.co.uk/Ladykillers/" title="] The Ladykillers.

    Alexander Mackendrick's 1955 comedy is Ealing's neatest, and its trippiest; the product of lurid new colour stock (including some alarming back-projection [http://www.thestickingplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/Ladykillers-12.jpg" title="]) and a hallucinatory premise. The plot ? five faintly spivvy crims, headed up by a bafflingly dastardly Alec Guinness, get an old lady to aid them in a bullion heist, then (spoiler alert) one by one die in their efforts to bump her off ? apparently came, fully formed, to writer William Rose [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Rose_%28screenwriter%29" title="] in a dream.

    Rose fell out with Mackendrick in pre-production, so the director pieced together the script from Rose's notes (when the writer saw the film later, he thought they'd improved on his vision). Could that explain the snap and crackle? The quick spin and nifty lick that makes it feel more akin to The Sweet Smell of Success than to creaky Brit-coms of the same vintage.

    For what elevates The Ladykillers way above panto predictability is that it operates slightly off-centre; it takes its cue from its heroine (christened Mrs Lopsided), rattling about in her wonky house, perched by the railway sidings. What makes it funny is not that they employ her unwitting services, but that she's so sweet-natured about it (the cops even give her a lift back with the cash). That, when the penny drops, fear never crosses her mind, only opprobrium. And that her reprimands are effective: some of the gang are admonished, genuinely shamed. Even the most dark-hearted can't even manage to wring her neck.

    It's a film with jazz in its bones and rhythm to its beats: I love the sudden violence with which Mrs Wilberforce mallets the cold water pipe, the lovely nod to The Lodger [http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ZH0QHR2hODo/TXGHA9L5M4I/AAAAAAAAAjk/RzHudyAcfo4/s400/lodger3.jpg" title="] when Alec Guinness first materialises at the house, silhouetted behind the frosted glass. The audio gags ? a bleed from parrot yelps to train-tunnel screams, the gulped asides and the fade-out lines ("It's a brown horse, 11 years old, answers to the name of Dennis ?").

    Who couldn't be stirred by the gleeful noir of the opening theme [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUNAC_DCGzA&feature=related" title="], nor by the Boccherini Minuet that the film makes famous again [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szGbpCsxreo" title="] (their cover story is they're an amateur string quintet)? It's a beautifully musical film all the way through, in fact, partly an effect of Katie Johnson's delivery as Mrs W [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katie_Johnson" title="]: incredible gentle diction, all sweet bleats and trilly intonation.

    Like my other favourite [http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/sep/16/back-to-the-future-25th" title="], I can't remember the first time I saw it. There was no epiphany or rite of passage, no lucky stumble into the wrong cinema. It's just always been there. It was one of three VHS tapes bought on merit when I was growing up. And as someone who spent a lot of time with their grandmother, it seemed only natural that bank robbers would meet their match in a benevolent pensioner.

    The film itself is a little deeper: as Mackendrick explained in a book published 2005, Mrs W, with her nods to her Navy husband, and her aged friends, is upstanding Old Britiain ? conservative sterness rapping the fingers of economic innovation.

    The fable of The Ladykillers is a comic and ironic joke about the condition of postwar England. After the war, the country was going through a kind of quiet, typically British but nevertheless historically fundamental revolution. Though few people were prepared to face up to it, the great days of the Empire were gone for ever. British society was shattered with the same kind of conflicts appearing in many other countries: an impoverished and disillusioned upper class, a brutalised working class, juvenile delinquency among the mods and rockers, an influx of foreign and potentially criminal elements, and a collapse of "intellectual" leadership. All of these threatened the stability of the national character.

    Though at no time did Bill Rose or I ever spell this out, look at the characters in the film. The Major (played by Cecil Parker), a conman, is a caricature of the decadent military ruling class. One Round (Danny Green) is the oafish representative of the British masses. Harry (Peter Sellers) is the spiv, the worthless younger generation. Louis (Herbert Lorn) is the dangerously unassimilated foreigner. They are a composite cartoon of Britain's corruption. The tiny figure of Mrs Wilberforce (Wilberforce was the name of the 19th-century idealist who called for the abolition of slavery) is plainly a much diminished Britannia. Her house is in a cul-de-sac. Shabby and cluttered with memories of the days when Britain's navy ruled the world and captains gallantly stayed on the bridge as their ship went down, her house is structurally unsound. Dwarfed by the grim landscape of railway yards and screaming express trains, it is Edwardian England, an anachronism in the contemporary world.

    Bill Rose's sentimental hope for the country that he and I saw through fond but sceptical eyes was that it might still, against all logic, survive its enemies. A theme, a message of sorts, one that I felt very attached to. But one that it took quite some time for me to consciously recognise and appreciate.

    I didn't twig that at the time, of course. And today I still love it not for its ambivalent social message but because it reminds me of my granny, and the teas and the friends she used to have, because of the rackety parrots and the fabulous RP station announcements. The foggy menace of that final shootout, the exotic struts of the gaswork, the intricate structure of the screenplay that gives us that beautiful bookend payoff, in which the cops write her off as dotty and so urge her to keep the lolly. I can think of no happier ending than that one, in which Katie Johnson totters down the street, ignoring her brolly, rewarding the tramp, as the sun rises over St Pancras and the trains hoot below, and the five coshed corpses chug their way north.


    ------------------------------------------------------------------

  17. #57
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    I saw the West End production of this at the Gielgud Theatre before Christmas. It was truly brilliant! Hilariously funny and I recommend it to anyone who's a fan of the film (and not a fan of the remake!)

  18. #58
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    And here's our entry to the Empire Film Magazine Done in 60 Seconds competition this year... The Ladykillers in 60 seconds.

    I hope you enjoy. It contains some obscured strong language and lots of double entendre. Call it a 12 A certificate.

    http://youtu.be/E6H6Nzm1bzg

  19. #59

  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainWaggett View Post
    Very good!
    Ta Ta
    Marky B

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