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The Lavender Hill Mob

(1951 b 81')

En: 6 Ed: 5

A bank employee teams up with a sculptor and two thieves to steal gold bullion and smuggle it to France, but after the heist things go wrong.

         At a restaurant Henry Holland (Alec Guinness) gives away money. He tells how he worked near gold bullion, helping to transport it in a van. Holland lives in a hotel, and he helps Alfred Pendlebury (Stanley Holloway) move in his art objects. Alfred shows Holland how he casts models of the Eiffel Tower in lead. Holland suggests they could rob the van, melt down the gold, and smuggle the paper weights to France.

         Holland learns he is being promoted from the bullion office. Holland and Alfred talk about money in their safe in public to attract burglars. They wait and catch Lackery (Sidney James) and Shorty (Alfie Bass). Holland instructs the three how they will rob him.

         Holland picks up 212 gold bars in the van, stopping on the street. Alfred steals a picture and is arrested. Shorty gets in the van and drives off with Holland to a warehouse. Lackery arrives on the bicycle. They unload the gold and tie up Holland. They see police, and Shorty drives off. Holland stumbles outside and falls in the river. Police dive in and save him. Alfred sees Holland brought into the police station and confesses he is a thief. Alfred’s case is dismissed. He goes back and finds Lackery and Shorty with the gold.

         Holland comes back to the hotel, and Alfred is glad to see him. Police have the hero Holland look at thieves. Alfred melts down the gold and says it will take two weeks. Police search. Holland packs models into crates. Lackery tells the others he can’t go to Paris. Shorty says he won’t either, but they both trust them to bring back their money.

         Holland and Alfred come home late after drinking. Holland and Alfred arrive in Paris. At the Eiffel Tower they see a crate and learn some have been sold. They go down the stairs of the tower and chase tourists to a boat. They have to buy tickets and go through customs, but they see the boat depart.

         Holland returns home, and the Inspector asks him what he can remember about the crime. Holland warns Alfred that they may be watched. They go to the school and give ten shillings to each girl who exchanges a model, but one girl refuses. After school they follow her to a police science exhibition. The Inspector learns the model is bullion, and Holland grabs it and runs. Police chase them. They go out a window and steal a police car. They call in another car. A policeman stops them and catches Alfred. Holland runs away.

         Holland in the restaurant says he made it to Rio de Janeiro with £25,000, but he is taken away with a handcuff.

         This British farce plays on the fantasy of stealing great wealth; but naturally such an adventure is dangerous, and they eventually realize they will always be hunted until they are caught.

Copyright © 2007 by Sanderson Beck

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