Mary Poppins Returns
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An exuberant rendition of Orton's well structured farce, it might exhaust you but somewhere along the way you're likely to have a good time.
"Loot" is based on a play by the notorious Joe Orton, who was murdered three years before this film was released. This, along with the curiosity of seeing Lee Remick in an unusual role, are the only reasons to seek out this deservedly obscure movie.
Two fools, Hal and Dennis, hatch an implausible robbery plot. Hal's mother has freshly died, and the funeral parlor is adjacent to a bank. Taking advantage of their temporary access, the boys plan to tunnel through the wall, rob the bank and then hide the money in the coffin where no one will look. Their scheme is half successful, but they hit a snag when they discover that the pile of bills doesn't leave enough room in the coffin for the body. This dilemma launches a perverse farce concerned with stashing the mother's corpse while keeping the stolen money hidden from a suspicious inspector.
The endless shuffling of the casket, body and money bags quickly turns repetitive, and it doesn't help that the limp dummy used as a stand-in corpse is painfully obvious. The two leads are charmless toads, and Richard Attenborough (you know, the guy who directed "Gandhi"?) gives a ridiculously burlesque performance as the inspector. The one saving grace is gorgeous Remick, who has a ball dumping her clean-cut image to portray a vampy Irish maid with a sordid history. Her wicked teasing of Dennis and his newly widowed father is much more fun to watch than the main story.
Another problem is Keith Mansfield's score, which adds overly literal pop songs to serve as awkward narration.
So many wonderful British comedies were released during this era of Peter Sellers, Albert Finney, Richard Lester and the like -- see them all before you settle for "Loot."
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