Starring: Alec Guinness, Stanley Holloway, Sid James
Director: Charles Crichton
Running Time: 81 mins
The Lavender Hill Mob is a British film about a bank clerk who is put in charge of overseeing a shipment of gold, but joins up with his new neighbour to steal the gold, and then smuggle them abroad in disguise.
It may not be as exciting as it aims to be, but The Lavender Hill Mob does its job when it comes to an enjoyable and light-hearted comedy. With a great central performance from Alec Guinness, and a great sense of humour surrounding our main characters’ morals, there’s a lot of fun to be had with this film, even if it’s not the most engrossing watch.
The best thing about The Lavender Hill Mob is easily its comedy. Yes, it’s got a good degree of slapstick and simple silliness throughout, but what I liked most about the humour here was that most of it comes from the characters, and watching Alec Guinness and Stanley Holloway bumble their way through a harebrained scheme was huge fun right the way through this movie.
But the interesting thing about the comedy and the characters is that it’s most fun to laugh at the two leads, even while you’re supporting them to get away with the crime. The film does a great job at getting you as a viewer on the side of the criminals, but keeps reminding you that they are on the wrong side of the law by making all their escapades fantastically laughable, and it’s that that really makes this such an enjoyable film to watch.
Meanwhile, the performances are great too. Alec Guinness is brilliantly entertaining in the lead role, and Stanley Holloway does a good job as his companion, whilst their chemistry throughout, whether they’re bickering or hatching a plan together, is absolutely faultless.
Now, onto the part of the film that I wasn’t so keen on: the plot. Of course, the main objective of this Ealing comedy is to be funny and entertaining, and that’s what it does really well, but there were moments, when there wasn’t so much humour about, that it did get a little boring. That’s inevitably because it is such a light-hearted and simple story, but I think it was just missing a degree of excitement and intrigue that would have really made this film a brilliant watch.
Overall, I thought this was a good bit of fun. Yes, it may not be a thrilling crime story, but as an exercise in top-quality humour, good performances and an easy-going romp, The Lavender Hill Mob is a success, and that’s why it gets a 7.5 from me.