Ladykillers [2004]

Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: Tom Hanks, Irma P. Hall, Marlon Wayans, J.K. Simmons, Tzi Ma
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Thriller
Rating: Unrated
Runtime: 104 minutes

In English comedy at its blackest (and funniest) pitch, this droll 1955 farce finds Alec Guinness in one of his typically deft, chameleon turns as would-be criminal mastermind Professor Marcus. When Marcus's grand plan to pull off a train heist leads him to a strategically situated house occupied by the genteel Mrs. Wilberforce (Katie Johnson), the ensuing masquerade triggers a mordant, even macabre comedy of manners. With Marcus and his rough-hewn cronies (Herbert Lom, Peter Sellers, and Danny Green) posing as a string quartet, and the dear lady's demise seen as the means to their larcenous end, the gang's sinister machinations are consistently, if unwittingly, foiled by the good-hearted, resourceful widow. --Sam Sutherland

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Marva Munson:
Now I want to know what's goin' on.

Professor G.H. Dorr:
Oh, indeed, indeed. The thirst for knowledge is a very commendable thing. Though I do believe that when you hear the explanation you shall laugh riotously, slappin' your knee and perhaps even wipin' away a giddy tear, relieved of your former concern. Lump here is an avid collector of Indian arrowheads, and having found one simply lying on your cellar floor - a particularly rare artifact of the Natchez tribe?

Lump Hudson:
Nats... what?

Professor G.H. Dorr:
He enlisted the entire ensemble in an all-out effort to sift through the subsoil in search of others. And apparently, in doing so, we hit a mother lode of natural gas. I myself became acutely aware of the smell of "rotten eggs." And it was just at this inopportune moment that the General here violated the cardinal rule of this house and lit himself a cigarette.

The General:
So sorry.

Marva Munson:
Well, what about all that money?

Professor G.H. Dorr:
Ah. The money. Well, the money is Mr. Pancake's.

Garth Pancake:
That's right.

Professor G.H. Dorr:
Who only just remortgaged his home in order to raise the money for a surgical procedure that will correct the wandering eye of his common-law wife, Mountain Water, who suffers from astigmia, strabismus and a general curdling of the vitreous jelly. Mr. Pancake is an ardent foe of the Federal Reserve, and is, in fact, one of those eccentrics one often reads about hoardin' his entire life savings, in Mr. Pancake's case, in a Hefty bag that is his constant companion. The Steel Sak.

Garth Pancake:
Don't trust the banks. Never have.

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