Screening, Artist's Choice

  • Film still, The Ladykillers (1955), courtesy of Park Circus/STUDIOCANAL
    Film still, 'The Ladykillers' (1955), courtesy of Park Circus/STUDIOCANAL

Artist’s Choice | The Ladykillers | Introduced by Jack Morrison

This Ealing Studios classic is a subversive and macabre slow-burn comedy, in which a cast of quirky characters undertake a bank heist. The band of thieves led by Professor Marcus (Alec Guinness) pose as a string quintet to rent a room from an elderly widow, Mrs Wilberforce, who, unbeknownst to them, has a habit of reporting suspicious behaviour to the police.

The robbery is a success, but the thieves, panicked by Mrs Wilberforce’s eventual discovery of their crime, go on to double-cross one another, with disastrous results.

As director Alexander Mackendrick acknowledged years later, The Ladykillers is ‘obviously a parody of Britain in its subsidence’. Mrs Wilberforce seems to be an embodiment of Victorian values and ideas, and her cluttered old house a reflection of crumbling post-war England.

The film has been selected by Jack Morrison, who will introduce it on both evenings. Jack was the first stage manager at the Globe Theatre, and has worked across Cornwall for Kneehigh, the Eden Project and The Works, but is now perhaps best known for his role supporting artists as project manager at Cornish funding body FEAST. You can read his introduction here.

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