Film 349 in the ‘1187 Films to See Before You Die’ challenge is 1951’s “The Lavender Hill Mob”. Directed by Charles Crichton, this British crime comedy sees a meek bank clerk who oversees the shipment of bullion joins with an eccentric neighbour to steal gold bars and smuggle them out of the country as miniature Eiffel Towers. This was very confusing to watch at times. Everything’s happening at such breakneck speed that I’m almost asking the film to slow down. Even with the added fast talking cockney goons I couldn’t keep up. It doesn’t help I couldn’t get subtitles to help me understand the dialogue better. There were many parts of the film I kept asking what was happening and judging by the film’s length (77 minutes), I’m assuming scenes were removed before released that maybe could’ve explained things. How is the landlord not suspicious about all the paintings and sculptures Pendlebury brings with him? Why does the plan to rob the van with gold need a cyclist and a pretend street painter? Why is it that for a comedy I didn’t laugh once? None of those were answered throughout the film. I don’t know if it’s a case of the comedy doesn’t hold up nowadays or my standards for comedy are not what they seem. Then again I find sweary tyrants and kicks to the dick funny so what do I know? The end of the film really annoyed me. The final shot sees Mr Holland (Alec Guinness) leave a restaurant in Rio de Janeiro handcuffed to someone. How long has he been handcuffed for? Who is he handcuffed to? Why is he handcuffed in the first place? Again, none of those were answers as we faded to black and to the closing credits. Overall, I didn’t enjoy watching this. It left me annoyed, confused and scratching my head a lot. I’m not going to remember anything from his film my sunset. If you have seen this film then let me know what you thought of it in the comments. Here is what I had to say while watching 1951’s “The Lavender Hill Mob”. By the way, there was no mention of Lavender Hill throughout the film! So… Why are they called The Lavender Hill Mob? I’m asking too many questions…
Film – The Lavender Hill Mob
Year – 1951
Director – Charles Crichton
Written By – T.E.B. Clarke
Starring – Alec Guinness, Stanley Holloway, Sidney James, Alfie Bass
IMDb Rating – 7.7/10
My Rating – 3/10
Length – 77 mins (1h 17min)
Genre – Comedy, Crime
We open in a restaurant in Rio de Janeiro
Those are some big money notes
Is he just giving money away to anyone?
Flashback to a men making gold bars in London
So… They’re transporting gold in the back of a police van?
Cut to two balding men having a meeting in a bank
All that and all he got was £8!
So… We’re following the life of Mr Holland?
And now for story time
Is he reading a 50’s version of Fifty Shades of Grey?
Who moves into a new house in the middle of the night?
So… Have these men robbed an art gallery?
First film I’ve seen to mention Tunbridge Wells and Southend
So… He’s making counterfeit Eiffel Tower models and selling them to the French?
So… Mr Holland is suggesting to this person who’s name I don’t know to steal one of his gold vans and turn them into Eiffel Towers?
Back at the bank and Mr Holland gets offered a promotion which he doesn’t want
It took over 18 minutes for me to find Mr Holland’s friends name – It’s Pendlebury
Meanwhile, someone trying to steal from Pendlebury’s safe
We all know that every good robber has a bus timetable and a pack lunch on them
I have no idea what these men are saying – Very cockney accents
Shame that this film doesn’t have subtitles as I can’t understand them
If that didn’t sound like the biggest hint of “I’m going to rob you” I don’t know what is
Why are we teaching people to ride bicycles?
So… The plan is to rob the van outside in public on route to the bank outside St Paul’s Cathedral?
And everything starts to go wrong when Pendlebury accidentally walks away with a painting
But just like that they’ve stolen the van with gold…. And a spare painting
And that is why you don’t do J-Turns in a construction site
So.. They’re just leaving £75,000 all for an alibi?
And now the two hired men have stolen the remaining gold with Mr Holland blinded and tied up in a warehouse
Who leaves bear traps outside a warehouse
Meanwhile, Pendlebury is in prison about the stolen painting
Pendlebury comes clean to the police but gets away with everything even though Mr Holland has just arrived
And they’ve crashed the gold van back at base
Meanwhile, Mr Holland’s mom accuses the police of not knowing about bigger crime rackets
Holland and Pendlebury reunite with champagne before Holland gets his promotion
Again I ask… Why Eiffel Tower models?
So… Cockney is a foreign accent in this film?
So… The Police are looking everywhere with Holland’s help not knowing that Holland is behind everything
Even the Prime Minister is being questions
So… One of the goons can’t go to Paris because his wife won’t let him
And the other goon can’t go because he has tickets to England Test Cricket
Don’t you hate getting woken up in the middle of the night by drunks?
So… Holland wants to be called Dutch while Pendlebury wants to be called Al – OK then
And with a fade to black, we’re in Paris
How do we know that – Cut to a shot of the ACTUAL Eiffel Tower
So… They’ve messed up by sending the wrong crates abroad and selling those models to a group of primary school girls
Since when did hats and coats float like UFO’s
Also, who runs down a spiral staircase on the Eiffel Tower
This sequence is making me dizzy
And they’ve missed them as they boarded a train
Or they can missed them catching a ferry back to Dover
This scene with Holland and Pendlebury trying to get tickets is dragging
And as I thought would happen, they’ve missed the ferry
But we’re back in London… Well at least Holland is
Holland meets Pendlebury at the airport and tells him that the police have found his van
Cut to the Holland and Pendlebury giving 10 shillings away to all girls who bought Eiffel Towers
One girl won’t return hers because “it’s mine”
So… They’re new plan is to rob a 5 year old school girl???
Wait… Did that policeman say she has a boyfriend? AT FIVE?!?!?!?!?
They follow her into a Metropolitan Police exhibition where she gives her model away to the police
Hold up… Boyfriend is slang for Dad??!? WHAT!!!!!!
And they stolen it back… IN FRONT OF THE POLICE!!!! Idiots
THE POLICEMAN JUST STOLE A BIKE!!
Is all this really worth it?
“Don’t panic” as a policeman nearly runs over everyone on a bike
Have they just stolen a police car?
And now one policeman’s calling in the wrong car
All of this is very confusing to watch
Hold up….. A fat man smoking a cigar blasting Old McDonald Had a Farm??? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON???
And that signal alone messes up everything
When in doubt, escape via London Underground entrances
And back to Holland in Rio
Wait… Why are they handcuffed together?
THE END???? You can’t end like that?