“I am shocked by this revelation. Shocked and appalled!”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
It’s also notable for the presence of a chubby, uncharacteristically subdued Peter Sellers in one of his earliest movie roles.
Most of the film’s humor is derived from the interactions between the befuddled thieves (who find themselves increasingly unable to follow through with their plans) and Mrs. Wilberforce, a true force of nature. As played by Katie Johnson, Mrs. Wilberforce is the epitome of proper British standing: she trusts until she has good reason not to, and maintains firm resolve even in the face of potential danger to her life.
Interestingly, The Ladykillers can be read on another level entirely: as a post-war political commentary about diverse interests (represented by the sundry thugs) struggling to co-exist with older British mores (as epitomized by Mrs. Wilberforce). But I prefer to watch it simply as an engagingly humorous slapstick farce, one in which incompetent thieves get what’s coming to them, and good can’t help but triumph in the end.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)