Saturday, September 11, 2010

Surprisingly, I didn't really like The Ladykillers

TCM showed The Ladykillers the other day; it's one of those comedies from Britain's Ealing Studios which featured Alec Guinness and a bunch of other recognizable names which, like The Lavender Hill Mob or Kind Hearts and Coronets, is fondly remembered today. To be honest, I much preferred the two earlier movies.

At any rate, I really only mention The Ladykillers because I noticed that today is the 93d birthday of Herbert Lom, one of the stars of the movie. Lom was born in Czechoslovakia (or actually, the Austro-Hungarian Empire; it's long enough ago that the now defunct Czechoslovakia hadn't even been created yet), but emigrated to England with the coming of World War II, which is where his acting career took off. A few years back, TCM showed one of his earliest performances, in the circus movie The Dark Tower, as part of a look at six films made by Warner Bros. British arm Teddington to satisfy British quota rules; the movies had recently been rediscovered. (Unfortunately, the Teddington movies don't seem to be on DVD.) Lom is probably best known, however, for playing Charles Dreyfus, the poor put-upon police commissioner who has to deal with Inspector Clouseau in several of the Pink Panther movies.

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