The League of Gentlemen (1960)
May 12, 2016 7:06 PM - Subscribe

A disgruntled veteran recruits a group of disgraced collegues to perform a bank robbery with military precision.

NYTimes: But apart from its testimony to the multiplicity of crime, "The League of Gentlemen" offers another entertainment of abundant interest in the crooks-with-humor line. Not that it is very edifying as to the rectitude of the human race, nor that it bespeaks any message of man's eternal hope and faith. It is just another diversion in a vein that is being overworked (vide "The Big Deal on Madonna Street" and "Ocean's 11"), but it is neatly written and expertly played.


So who's for "Rififi" with English actors and English accents? Here it is.

The Telegraph: So magnificent is this film that one wonders why it didn’t spawn a whole genre: but tastes were changing, the British film industry was on its knees, and despite the efforts of men such as Forbes and Attenborough to save it, its glory days were over. Vulgarity was an easier way to make money; and as soon as The League of Gentlemen was in the can Hawkins went for a first operation on the throat cancer that would eventually kill him. The glory was departing, but could not have done so with more style than it did here. The resulting caper, while entertaining enough, is top-heavy on the front end. There is too much recruitment — with brief glimpses into the players’ current lives, just enough to establish their character (or lack thereof) — and too much preparation for the attack on the bank itself, an act that takes at most only ten minutes in screen time. But “attack” is precisely the right word. These men are fighting back against the establishment — mostly metaphorically speaking, that is, as their eyes are largely on the reward of over a million pounds each.


Full movie on YouTube
posted by MoonOrb (8 comments total)
I saw this many years ago, for the second time (but it was after conference drinks, so, you know...) and it didn't seem the clusterfuck that I remember.

I'm mostly commenting because I want this to pop up in my recent activity... so I can see if I can revisit it someday.

Gotta say, I do like the Nemo/Nautilus combo, but I am a sucker for Jules Verne (and this was where I realised Nemo wasn't a crusty European type.)
posted by Mezentian at 12:36 AM on May 13, 2016

Right now I lament the lack of an edit window slightly linger than 5 minutes.
So much.
posted by Mezentian at 2:21 AM on May 13, 2016 [3 favorites]

Mezentian, I very nearly made the same mistake. Thanks for taking that bullet first.

(Note to future commenters: This isn't about this League of Gentlemen either.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:07 AM on May 13, 2016

Or, indeed, this League of Gentlemen.
posted by Grangousier at 4:31 AM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Wait, Roger Livesey is in this? I AM IN!
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:59 AM on May 13, 2016

And a very young Oliver Reed in an uncredited role.

Okay, apparently films at this time could not show criminals benefiting from a crime. I'd never heard of this movie before, it was nearly two hours long and it sped by. Post-war London street scenes, great characters especially Jack Hawkins who was a force of nature in this ("No, no. I regret to say the bitch is still going strong.") the meticulous planning. The heist itself comes as a rude shock with the big guns and the smoke, followed by the camaraderie of the celebration and then the bemused resignation. I was reminded of Kind Hearts and Coronets and also the recent Hatton Garden heist by "retired" criminals.

Also Nigel Patrick who plays Race could be Bill Murray's... older brother.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:34 PM on May 13, 2016

The League of Gentlemen that this actually is is where the comedy show people Ursula mentioned get their name.
posted by biffa at 8:44 PM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's what I refer to as an ironing movie - the kind of thing that used to turn up on Saturday afternoons on BBC2, the perfect length and intellectual demand for a laundry basket full of shirts.

Written by Bryan Forbes (beginning his long career of getting work for Nanette Newman). Directed by Basil Dearden, whose diverse directorial career stretched from Will Hay comedies to Roger Moore in The Man Who Haunted Himself by way of a lot of forgettable films and occasional outstanding curiosities like this, The Blue Lamp, Victim and The Assassination Bureau.
posted by Grangousier at 3:05 AM on May 14, 2016

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