Precious Bodily Fluids

The Ladykillers

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If the worthwhile elements of The Ladykillers had to be ranked, the top two would include Alec Guinness’ comedique diabolique and the wonderful string of character losses at the film’s end. Not unlike Arsenic and Old Lace, sinister criminal would-be masterminds are humbled by the housekeeper(s). It seems again to be a fascinating instance of the male invasion of female space reversed and punished, as the female housekeeper proves to have on her side a double portion of both intelligence and fate, while the male plotters demonstrate their chauvinism and ignorance by underestimating not only their own stupidity but the woman’s upper hand. The Ladykillers positions the criminals and the lawmen on the same naïve side, while the seen-everything woman emerges not only richer but even wiser than before. On one hand, it might have been more entertaining had Peter Sellers’ gift been known, but then, Mrs. Wilberforce (aka Mrs. Lopsided) stole the spotlight even from the buck-toothed Guinness.

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This entry was published on February 5, 2009 at 12:23 pm. It’s filed under 1950s Cinema, British Film and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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