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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)
Digitally Restored


Starring: Alec Guinness, Stanley Holloway, Sid James, Alfie Bass and Marjorie Fielding
Optimum Releasing
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: U
Available 01 August 2011

Henry Holland has worked faithfully for 20 years as a bank transfer agent for the delivery of gold bullion. A shy retiring man, completely inconsequential to his employers, he has long dreamt of a way to execute his plan of the perfect gold robbery - the only catch being how to move the gold on once stolen. One day he befriends Pendlebury, 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 from England into France. Soon after, the two plant a story to gain the services of professional criminals Lackery and Shorty. Together, the four plot their crime, leading to unexpected twists and turns...

The Lavender Hill Mob (1951) is an Ealing comedy film starring Alec Guiness in the role of Henry Holland, Stanley Holloway as Pendlebury, Sid James as Lackery and Alfie Bass as Shorty.

Guiness is perfect in the role of an under achiever who on the face of it appears to be a honest, hard worker whose attention to detail can be a pain to those around him. He's been planning the perfect crime for years but sadly, which is all too common when you bring in unknown helpers, his plan is doomed to failure when his helpers are not as strict with routine and timetables as he is. In the end all three of his helpers mess up by being thoughtless, or trusting others to carry out important instructions (like the owners of the souvenir shop in France who are told not to sell Eiffel Tower statues that are in a specially marked crate) and so the long arm of the law is never far behind.

A modern audience won't find many laugh out loud moments, the humour is more subtle than the majority of today's comedies. This is a classic movie and certainly worth trading up to if you've already got it on DVD. The restoration job is impressive.

Extras include Introduction from Martin Scorsese (3 min, 38 sec); Excerpt from BECTV Interview with Charles Crichton (12 min, 49 sec audio interview with the film's director); Good Afternoon: Mavis Interviews T.E.B. Clarke (24 min, 43 sec Thames Television TV interview with the writer conducted by Mavis Nicholson; Restoration Comparison (4 min, 11 sec look which shows silent scenes from the film to show the difference that the restoration has made); Behind the Scenes Stills Gallery (1 min, 04 sec); and trailer (2 min, 25 sec).


Darren Rea

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