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  • ON LOCATION IN PARIS.
  • Cinematographer Douglas Slocombe (who later shot 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'), Audrey Hepburn, and Director Charles Crichton.

THE LAVENDER HILL MOB
Starring Alec Guinness

MUST END THURSDAY, MAY 30

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U.K., 1951
Directed by Charles Crichton
Starring Alec Guinness, Stanley Holloway
Screenplay by T.E.B. Clarke
Cinematography by Douglas Slocombe
Edited by Seth Holt
Music by Georges Auric
Approx. 81 min. DCP.


"It's a good job we're both honest men," remarks seedy Cockney knickknack manufacturer and hustler Stanley Holloway (13 years later, MY FAIR LADY’s Alfred Doolittle) as he gets the gist of fastidious bank clerk Guinness' scheme: to smuggle Bank of England gold bullion out of the country by melting them down into seemingly tacky Eiffel Tower souvenirs.

One of the highlights of the golden years of British comedies from Britain’s famed Ealing Studios, THE LAVENDER HILL MOB was an international smash hit that won screenwriter T.E.B. Clarke an Oscar for Best Writing and a Best Actor nomination for Guinness, as well as a BAFTA Award for Best British Film. Its dénouement atop the real (filmed on location) Eiffel Tower features the most dizzying comedy chase ever.

Produced by the legendary Michael Balcon, the man who launched Alfred Hitchcock’s directing career in the 20s and 30s (and grandfather of actor Daniel Day-Lewis), THE LAVENDER HILL MOB is notable for both its on-camera and behind-the-camera personnel: Guinness was already an internationally renowned actor by the early 1950s, but his greatest fame would come 26 later playing Obi-Wan Kenobi In the original STAR WARS (playing as a Film Forum Jr. matinee on Sunday, May 12), while 30 years later, cinematographer Douglas Slocombe would shoot Spielberg’s RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (playing as a Film Forum Jr. matinee on Sunday, May 26). The film’s composer, Georges Auric, also created the music for such iconic French classics as Cocteau’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Jules Dassin’s RIFIFI, and Clouzot’s THE WAGES OF FEAR.  

Director Charles Crichton would make a big comeback 37 years later, at age 77, with the hit comedy A FISH CALLED WANDA, starring John Cleese, Kevin Kline, and Jamie Lee Curtis.

The cast also includes British comedy stalwarts Sid James and Alfie Bass, along with brief appearances by 21-year-old newcomer Audrey Hepburn.

A RIALTO PICTURES RELEASE

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Reviews

“Inventive, economic, masterly... one of the most glorious gems in the Ealing crown.”
– Phillip French, The Observer

“THE ARCHETYPAL EALING COMEDY. It’s got everything the studio is famous for — loveable crooks, class conflict, London streets, avuncular bobbies, pratfalls, slapstick, tea, buns and Alec Guinness — but with a Hitchcock-inspired thriller plot that makes it the most pacily enthralling of their features. Crichton’s direction is subtle but inventive...and the performances, writing and plotting are faultless.” 
Time Out

“Both a joyous comedy and a tense thriller. Indeed, its climactic car-chase sequence is easily as dramatic as any of those found in today's summer blockbusters.”
– Sukhdev Sandhu, Daily Telegraph

“TREMENDOUSLY GOOD FUN.”
 – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

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