The Lavender Hill Mob


The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)



Critic Consensus: Fiendishly funny and clever, The Lavender Hill Mob is a top hat Ealing Studios effort.


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Movie Info

After two decades of service to his employers, gold bullion carrier Henry Holland (Alec Guinness) decides to run off with more than a million pounds worth of the stuff. After convincing his sculptor friend Alfred (Stanley Holloway) to help him melt down the gold and mold it into a small Eiffel Tower, Henry sends the statuette ahead of him to Paris, only to discover it was one of six miniature towers bought by a group of schoolgirls.

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Alec Guinness
as Henry Holland
Stanley Holloway
as Alfred Pendelbury
Sidney James
as Lackery Wood
Alfie Bass
as Shorty Fisher
Meredith Edwards
as P.C. Williams
Peter Bull
as Joe the Gab
William Fox
as Gregory
Marie Burke
as Senora Gallardo
Christopher Hewett
as Insp. Talbot
Patrick Barr
as Inspector
Edie Martin
as Miss Evesham
Clive Morton
as Station Sgt.
John Salew
as Parkin
Frederick Piper
as Cafe Proprietor
Alanna Boyce
as Schoolgirl with Paperweight
Ann Heffernan
as Kiosk Girl
Eugene Deckers
as Customs Official
Paul Demel
as Customs Official
Andreas Malandrinos
as Customs Official
Tony Quinn
as Deputy Commander
Moultrie Kelsall
as Detective Superintendant
David Davies
as City Policeman
Charles Lamb
as Mr. Richards
Archie Duncan
as Chief Cashier
Fred Griffiths
as Taxi Driver
Arthur Mullard
as 1st Man in Police Identity Parade
Andrea Malandrinos
as Customs Official
Marie Ney
as School Headmistress
John Warwick
as Police Inspector at Squad Car Headquarters
Robert Shaw
as Chemist at Police Exhibition
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Critic Reviews for The Lavender Hill Mob

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (1)

Charles Crichton's direction is subtle but inventive - check out the snaking, near-single-take opening in a Rio cabana - and the performances, writing and plotting are faultless.

Jun 24, 2006 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Once again Ealing Studios have produced a bright and entertaining comedy.

Jan 22, 2018 | Full Review…

Inventive, economic, masterly.

Jul 24, 2011 | Full Review…

You are left wanting more rather than thinking less would have been better.

Jul 22, 2011 | Rating: 4/5

It's tremendously good fun, though lighter in tone than Ealing's two scabrous masterpieces Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Ladykillers...

Jul 21, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Both a joyous comedy and a tense thriller. Indeed, its climactic car-chase sequence is easily as dramatic as any of those found in today's summer blockbusters.

Jul 21, 2011 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Lavender Hill Mob

Guinnes creates an ordinary man striving for a dream, a mad and illegal one, but a dream anyhow. Contagiously charming and funny.

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer

The Lavender Hill Mob, one of the Ealing Studios classics was definitely amusing and had a few hysterical moments, but I didn't love it. The humor was witty and drier than Kafka in the Sahara. The movie has a reputation of being an absolute laugh riot (at least from what I've heard) but I didn't feel like the movie lived up to that expectation. Alec Guinness was as always superb, but the movie was nothing to flip out over. The 30 seconds of a young Audrey Hepburn definitely helped though...

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer


Brilliant Ealing comedy, this pitch-perfect crime caper stars Alec Guinness in one of his finest performances, a timid clerk who decides to claim himself a fortune with a motely crew including Ealing mainstay Stanley Holloway. The film is probably the template for all bungling crime films, but mercifully lacks the slapstick of its imitators. Pacy and highly comical, this is definately worth your while. Watch out as well for Audrey Hpburn's tiny role as Chiquita in the first scene as well!

Antony Stubbs
Antony Stubbs

Super Reviewer


Alec Guinness' other heist-comedy ("The Ladykillers") might have a slight edge over this one, but funnily enough, I prefer the actual heist from this movie. Guinness is a mild-mannered bank supervisor who oversees the gold bullion shipments for the bank of England. When a frustrated artist (who makes lead paperweight replicas of the eiffel tower to sell to tourists in Paris) moves into his building, he gets an idea on how to smuggle stolen bullion out of the country. With the help of two criminal-type accomplices, the heist is planned out and executed to perfection. The police are quite perplexed and unsuspecting of Guinness, until one exceptionally clever member of scotland yard begins to suspect him. There are a few madcap chases in the movie which incorporate screwball comedy elements, but mostly the film's comedy relies on sublty rather than broad strokes. Guinness is fine, as usual, but the film itself isn't life-altering or mind-blowing in any way. Oh, it's perfectly serviceable, especially if you're looking for a mildly amusing crime-comedy, but I certainly wouldnt' call it a must-see.

Devon Bott
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

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