The Ladykillers

The Ladykillers is a 1955 British black comedy crime film directed by Alexander Mackendrick for Ealing Studios. It stars Alec Guinness, Cecil Parker, Herbert Lom, Peter Sellers, Danny Green, Jack Warner and Katie Johnson as the old lady; Mrs. Wilberforce. American William Rose wrote the screenplay, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay and won the BAFTA Award for Best British Screenplay. He claimed to have dreamt the entire film and merely had to remember the details when he awoke. The film holds a rare 100% rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 23 reviews. The British Film Institute ranked The Ladykillers the 13th greatest British film of all time. In 2017 a poll of 150 actors, directors, writers, producers and critics for Time Out magazine saw it ranked the 29th best British film ever.

Production: Buena Vista Pictures
  5 wins & 4 nominations.
 
IMDB:
6.2
Metacritic:
56
Rotten Tomatoes:
55%
R
Year:
2004
104
Website
1,015 Views

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.

Professor G.H. Dorr:
What do you think, General? Present any problems? Good then. Gentlemen, why don't we crowd around and go over the plan? Gentlemen, this is the Bandit Queen. Gambling den. Cash cow. Sodom of the Mississippi Delta and the focus of our little exercise. Here is Orchard Street. Here is the residence of Marva Munson, the charming lady whom you all met moments ago. Gentlemen, I'm sure you're all aware that the Solons of the state of Mississippi, to wit, its legislature, have decreed that no gaming establishment shall be erected within its borders upon dry land. They may, however, legally float. While the gambling activity is restricted to these riverboats, no such restrictions apply to the functions ancillary to this cash-besotted business. The casino's offices, locker rooms, facilities to cook and clean, and, most importantly, its counting houses, the reinforced, secret, super-secure repositories of the lucre, may all be situated... wherever. Gawain, where is "wherever"?

Gawain MacSam:
Say what?

Professor G.H. Dorr:
Where's the money?

Gawain MacSam:
Oh. OK, look. At the end of every shift, pit boss brings the cash down to the hold of the ship in a locked cashbox, and once a day all the cash is moved down to the countin' room.

Professor G.H. Dorr:
And where is the counting room?

Gawain MacSam:
Uh... it be right there in that square where you pointin'.

Professor G.H. Dorr:
And what, to flog a horse that if not dead is at this point in mortal danger of expiring, does this little square represent?

Gawain MacSam:
Offices. Underground.

Professor G.H. Dorr:
Ha! Underground! Mmm! Underground. During the casino's hours of operation, the door to this counting room is fiercely guarded. The door itself is of redoubtable Pittsburgh steel. When the casino closes this entire underground complex is locked up, and the armed guard retreats to the casino's main entrance. There, then, far from the guard, reposes the money, behind a five-inch-thick steel portal, yes. But the walls... the walls are but humble masonry behind which is only the soft, loamy soil deposited over centuries by the Old Man, the meanderin' Mississippi, as it fanned its way back and forth across the great alluvial plain, leaving earth. This earth. The General here, whose curriculum vitae comprehends massive tunnelin' experience through the soil of his native French Indochina, shall be directin' our little old tunnelin' operation. Garth Pancake, though a master of none, is a jack of all those trades corollary to our aim. He will be doin' such fabricatin' and demolition work - as our little caper shall require.

Garth Pancake:
Happy to be on board.

Professor G.H. Dorr:
Gawain is our proverbial "inside man." He has managed to secure himself a berth on the stodial staff of the Bandit Queen.

Gawain MacSam:
Damn skippy!

Professor G.H. Dorr:
And this brings us to Lump. To look at Lump, you might wonder what specialized expertise could he possibly offer our merry little old band of miscreants. Well, gentlemen, in a project of such risks, it is imperative to enlist the services of a hooligan, a goon, an ape, a physical brute. Someone who will be our security, our battering ram, our blunt instrument. And, on our behalf, I wish him a warm Mississippi welcome.

Garth Pancake:
F***in' A.

Gawain MacSam:
Whassup, my nigga?

Professor G.H. Dorr:
Well, gentlemen, here you are. Men of different backgrounds and differing talents. Men with, in fact, but two things in common: One, you all saw fit to answer my advertisement in the Memphis Scimitar, and two, you're all going to be, in consequence, very, very, incredibly... rich. Let us revel in our adventure, gentlemen. Let us make beautiful music together, and, by all means, let us keep this to ourselves. What we say in this root cellar, let it stay in this root cellar.

Lump Hudson:
There's no "I" in "team".

Professor G.H. Dorr:
To penetrate the vault here this afternoon, while Mrs. Munson is at church, havin' blasted that little old rock to pieces durin' Mrs. Munson's choir practice. Garth, can you run us through the game plan for what remains of our tunnel?

Garth Pancake:
Of course. Why, it's child's play now. Easiest thing in the world. Only a couple of feet separate us from the vault. Just the usual spadework until we get to the masonry of the vault, and then we just drill through.

Professor G.H. Dorr:
And will you be able to wield the drill with your maimed extremity?

Garth Pancake:
Oh, well, yeah, I should think so. Yeah, it's, uh, it's only one finger. Inhibits me in doing finer work of course. I'll always have to live with that. Maybe - I'm just thinkin' out loud here - maybe, since as you say there will be problems later, maybe - and I actually mentioned this to Mountain Girl, she agrees with me, so it's not just one person's opinion - maybe, uh... I should get a little extra compensation for the accident. Somewhat larger share. Why, if this was any other line of work, I'd be getting workman's comp. Wouldn't I? Might even have a pretty good lawsuit.

Gawain MacSam:
Wait, so you gonna sue yourself for blowing your own goddamn finger off?

Garth Pancake:
Well, now that is simply asinine.

Professor G.H. Dorr:
Yes, but you see, Garth, this is not what you just called "some other line of work."

Garth Pancake:
Yeah, no, no, no, but if it were...

Professor G.H. Dorr:
This is a criminal enterprise, not to put too fine a point on it, entailing any manner of risk not involved in honest labor. Governmental regulations and civic safeguards cannot be assumed to apply to antisocial pursuits.

Lump Hudson:
Yeah, but he lost his finger.

Gawain MacSam:
We don't give a f***! That fool could blow his goddamn dick off, it don't make no nevermind to us! We not payin' this jackass for goin' around blowin' off goddamn body parts! Get yo' f***in' head out yo' ass, man!

Garth Pancake:
Look you, there is no call for...

The General:
No extra share!

Garth Pancake:
OK. Majority rules. Like I say, it was just a trial balloon. Hand's not so bad really. I even get some phantom feeling.

Gawain MacSam:
Yeah, you pull on your prick, you get some phantom feelin'.

Garth Pancake:
F*** you.

Gawain MacSam:
F*** you.

Garth Pancake:
F*** you!

Gawain MacSam:
F*** you, nubbie!

Professor G.H. Dorr:
Well, now that that matter is settled, why don't we synchronize our watches before Gawain reports to work. In 20 seconds, it will be exactly 12:16. Fifteen...

Garth Pancake:
What, it'll be 12:15?

Professor G.H. Dorr:
No, 15 seconds. Well, 11 seconds now. It'll be 12:16. Eight, seven...

Lump Hudson:
Professor? Prof...?

Professor G.H. Dorr:
...six... five... Yes, Lump!

Lump Hudson:
I don't have a watch.

Marva Munson:
You are a readin' fool, aren't you, Mr. Dorr?

Professor G.H. Dorr:
Yes, I must confess. I often find myself more at home in these ancient volumes than I do in the hustle-bustle of the modern world. To me, paradoxically, the literature of the so-called "dead tongues" holds more currency than this morning's newspaper. In these books, in these volumes, there is the accumulated wisdom of mankind, which succors me when the day is hard and the night lonely and long.

Marva Munson:
Mm. The wisdom of mankind, huh? What about the wisdom of the Lord?

Professor G.H. Dorr:
Oh... Yes, yes. The Good Book, mm. I have found reward in its pages. But, to me, there are other good books as well. Heavy volumes of antiquity freighted with the insights of man's glorious age. And then, of course, I just love, love, love the works of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe.

Marva Munson:
Oh, I know who he was. Kinda spooky.

Professor G.H. Dorr:
No, madam, no, no. Not of this world, it's true. He... he lived in a dream. An ancient dream. Helen, thy beauty is to me like those Nicean barks of yore, that gently, o'er a perfumed sea, the weary, wayworn wanderer bore to his own native shore.

Marva Munson:
Who was Helen? Some kinda whore of Babylon?

Professor G.H. Dorr:
One doesn't know who Helen was... but I picture her as being very, very... extremely... pale. Mrs. Munson, I have been trying to figure out some way of expressin' my gratitude to you for takin' in this weary, wayworn wanderer. It's just a little old present. Why, it's hardly anything at all.

Marva Munson:
Oh, why, Mr. Dorr! You are a gallant man.

Professor G.H. Dorr:
Oh, madam, I blush, I melt. No... I just happened to hear of this gospel concert tomorrow night, "The Mighty, Mighty Clouds of Joy", and I thought you and a friend from church perhaps would...?

Marva Munson:
Yes, I have a widow lady friend.

Professor G.H. Dorr:
The concert is up in Memphis, so I have arranged a car service to transport you thither.

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