is a 1955 British Black Comedy
from Ealing Studios
about a gang of criminals who rent a room from Mrs. Wilberforce (Katie Johnson) in her lopsided house that sits above a railway tunnel. The gang consists of Herbert Lom as Louis Harvey, Danny Green as "One-Round" Lawson, Peter Sellers
as Harry Robinson, Cecil Parker as "Major" Courtney and Alec Guinness
as Professor Marcus. The gang attempt to commit a payroll robbery and use the house as a base, which proves harder than they think with Mrs. Wilberforce around.
The screenwriter, William Rose, who also wrote Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
, claimed to have dreamed the whole film.
It was remade by the Coen Brothers
in 2004, changing the base of operations to a house connected to a Mississippi riverboat's vault, and including a significant subplot about the old (now) black lady's ironic support of Bob Jones University. It also increases the violence far beyond what would have been acceptable when the original was made. It shares many tropes with the classic 1955 version.
A stage version premiered in England in 2012 based on the original, edited by Graham Linehan of Black Books
and Father Ted
. It received extremely positive reviews and featured an All-Star Cast
, with Peter Capaldi as Marcus and Ben Miller as Louis
Tropes common to both versions:
The 1955 film contains examples of:
The 2004 film contains examples of: