Friday, June 22, 2012

Movie Review: The Ladykillers (2004)

From 1947 to 1957 a British film company, Ealing Studios, released 17 comedy films, many of which featured the actor Sir Alec Guinness. These movies have since come to be known as the Ealing Comedies. In 1956 the company was bought by the BBC, marking the end of the Ealing Comedies era.[1] One of the last Ealing Comedies to be made was called The Ladykillers and it involved a gang of criminals renting a room from an old lady so they can stage a robbery. She eventually gets in the way, so they start devising ways to get rid of her. This is a modern remake of that film by the Coen brothers.

Despite the title, very little on-screen time was spent trying to knock off the old lady. Nor was there any allusion to the usual mean of the term ladykiller.[2] There were some funny moments and the quirky characters were fun. The acting was heavily stylized (which I've also seen in a few of the Coen brothers' other films: The Hudsucker Proxy and Raising Arizona—and I suspect that is the case with many other of their movies).[3] There were too many shots of the old, bow-legged lady shuffling down the street. These could've been left out without disrupting the film or compromising it's "artistic integrity" Ultimately this wasn't that great of a movie. Nevertheless, I'm curious to see the original 1955 version which, in addition to Sir Alec Guinness also featured Peter Sellers.

DISCLAIMER: I watched this film as edited for television. I have not seen the original R-rated version and cannot comment on its appropriateness.[4]


[1] See Comedies.

[2] i.e. "An attractive, charming man who habitually seduces women." Oxford English Dictionary, ladykiller, n., def. 1.

[3] Such characterization is particularly suited to J. K. Simmons.

[4] For more info, I suggest you consult the reviews at and ladykillers.html.

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