Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. Uncle Bardie might even throw in a reflection on the movie. If so, it will make an appearance below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “The Ladykillers” (1955).
Hollywood is the capital of remakeology. If it was made, we can remake it. That’s the philosophy of Hollywood. But the Coen Brothers. I gotta tell you that when they started rolling in the dough, they lost it. In their pre-Big Lebowski days, they could do no wrong. After “O Brother Where Art Thou”, my suspicions are that they got George Clooneyed. If not that, what then?
I mean who in his right mind would want to remake “The Ladykillers”? C’mon. But the Coens went and done it anyway and it wasn’t pretty. And they didn’t stop there. They had to go and do it again with “True Grit”, which wasn’t that great a movie in the first place. Jeff Bridges as John Wayne was entertaining. But Tom Hanks as Alec Guinness. No way. Guess you figured it out by now. I hated the remake of “The Ladykillers”. Unfortunately I paid real money to go and see it. So I hated it twice as much as I would’ve had I got it from Netflix.
There was nothing to do but re-see the original. Produced by Ealing Studios, this black comedy about a robbery gone wrong has one awesome cast. In addition to Alec Guinness, there’s early Peter Sellers before he became The Peter Sellers of the sixties. There’s Herbert Lom, who was Peter Sellers’ nemesis in the “Pink Panther” movies. They are supported by two other wonderful character actors, Danny Green and Cecil Parker. They all play members of the original Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight. And last, but not least, the wonderful Katie Johnson as Mrs. Wilberforce. She’s the the old lady who, in her innocence, foils the crooks.
In the capable hands of director Alexander Mackendrick, “The Ladykillers” has gone the distance and come out a champ as they would say in boxing. It is number 13 on the BFI Top 100 British films. Personally I think it should be higher. But you can’t go wrong with “The Third Man”, “Brief Encounter”, “Lawrence of Arabia”, “The 39 Steps” and “Great Expectations” in the top five spots. So maybe # 6.
As we say in the South, “The Ladykillers” is a good’un.