Alec Guiness, Peter Sellers, Herbert Lom, Katie Johnson
Continental (Theatrical), Anchor Bay (DVD)
The original "Ladykillers" is a classic comedy...one that has aged quite gracefully and remains entertaining to this day.
Starring Sir Alec Guiness in the role of Professor Marcus, this film is set in London with pretty much the same storyline as the Coen Brothers film. The film features the first substantial performance by Peter Sellers...and what a fine appearance it is.
This film does a wonderful job of combining dark humor and classic British comedy. The similitaries to the 2004 "Tom Hanks" version are quite obvious down to the toothy grin of the Professor.
Set design is classic London...costumes feel appropriate and look wonderful. The music, well, this is a 1955 film...so, it leaves a lot to be desired. It's the typical "suspense" music for films of the era.
Guiness is simply wonderful here, and Sellers a fine complement. Perhaps my only casting question would be in the role of the elderly lady, Mrs. Wilberforce. Katie Johnson plays the role, and has this high-pitched, whiny voice that wears thin after awhile. She's quite irritating here, and while I believe a certain amount of that is written into the script...some of it, clearly is not.
Johnson's performance aside, this is a fun film...and those who've seen the 2004 Coen Brothers film would do themselves well to catch this one, as well.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic