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Film Studies 101
Feature
A Pictorial History Of The Lavender Hill Mob
Empire looks behind the scenes of an Ealing classic

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BAFTA winning and much beloved, The Lavender Hill Mob is the most fun you can have in black and white. Rollicking along from the gilded halls of the Bank of England to the dank cellars of South London, then on to Paris and back again, it’s a heist movie with an Ealing twinkle in its eye and tongue firmly planted in its cheek. There are nail-gnawing car chases, breakneck getaways and deviously hatched schemes to suck you into the mob’s shenanigans, but it’s the comic performances that bring you back for more. You’d be in good company. Martin Scorsese, an Ealing aficionado to the core, has lent his weight to a newly spruced, digitally-enhanced version. To mark the release and the film’s 60th birthday, Empire has laid its hands on some rare glimpses behind the scenes. Keep your eyes peeled for a certain star in the making.

WORDS PHIL DE SEMLYEN
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A Pictorial History Of The Lavender Hill Mob |

The Lavender Hill Mob may not have the murderous intent or sharp edges of Ealing Studio bedfellows like Kind Hearts And Coronets and The Ladykillers, but it shares that unmistakeably ‘Ealing’ quality: irreverence. Cops and robbers outdo each other for buffoonery throughout, as Alec Guinness’s timid bank clerk Henry Holland attempts to make like Goldfinger and steal a £3 million of gold from the Bank of England. Of course, this is Ealing, so Holland uses native cunning and Stanley Holloway rather than a flying circus and a large Korean man in a hat to snag the loot.

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