Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Ladykillers

(UK, 1955)

I believe this is the only one of the classic Ealing comedies that I hadn’t seen … and boy, am I glad. By that I mean that if I’d seen this first, before seeing the recent remake by the Coen Brothers, I’d have hated the new one instead of merely finding it mildly annoying. Why do they do these things? What is it that leads even funny, inventive, original guys like Joel and Ethan Coen to remake something that was perfect the first time around? You can’t win, artistically, not even with the great Tom Hanks, who was at his worst in the remake. All you can do is cynically cash in on the vast audience who won’t go see a movie older than two years, who demand the sort of foul language that is permissible these days in lieu of actual wit, and who like their slapstick raw and unfunny. So if you haven’t seen it, rent this one, and leave the new turkey alone.