Moorman

The League of Gentlemen (1960)

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This is another British film that I've been wanting to see for some time.  What sped it up is finding out the director, Basil Dearden, is the same director for Pool of London.  The film stars Jack Hawkins as Lt. Colonel Norman Hyde.  Disgruntled at being forced to retire, he decides to get even by robbing a bank.  He recruits former army officers, each going through a personal problem and has the skills to pull off the bank robbery.  The plot focuses on two main objectives:  Robbing a military arms depot to secure weapons, and the bank heist itself.  The film is billed as a criminal comedy film but the emphasis is more on drama.  There are comedic elements here and there but not enough to take the focus off the serious tone of the film.

The musical score and cinematography is first rate also. Again, Dearden did extensive on location shooting in and around London. Not as good as his work in Pool of London, but nonetheless he gives you enough of the real London to keep you engaged.  This is a fabulous production and is one of the finest British noir, gangster films ever made.  It has a runtime of just under two hours but it doesn't feel like it once the picture takes off.  I rate this a solid 8 out of 10...

 

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What a great film! It's been a couple of years since I've seen it. Time for a rewatch, for sure.

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I did rewatch this film a few days ago. Still great, in my opinion, but I'm wondering about one thing:

SPOILERS about the ending..............

How did the leader's old friend get past all those cops who surrounded the house shortly after they all walked in? The cops must have arrived shortly after the criminals did, because they started to arrest those guys as they walked out with the money. A couple of them walked out even before that friend arrived. Didn't that friend notice the cops? Didn't the cops see that friend (who of course was innocent)?

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5 hours ago, kjrwe said:

I did rewatch this film a few days ago. Still great, in my opinion, but I'm wondering about one thing:

SPOILERS about the ending..............

How did the leader's old friend get past all those cops who surrounded the house shortly after they all walked in? The cops must have arrived shortly after the criminals did, because they started to arrest those guys as they walked out with the money. A couple of them walked out even before that friend arrived. Didn't that friend notice the cops? Didn't the cops see that friend (who of course was innocent)?

I wondered the same thing.  How did the cops get there so fast?  It was also too convenient for them to come across those license plate numbers like the way they did.  Did the British have there own version of the code? No other  explanation. I would've given this a  9.5 if not for the ending.

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Oh, I think that the cops were onto them before the heist even took place.

Remember that the one cop got the license plate of the leader's car when they were in the warehouse. The cop might have seen more than they realized. Therefore, the cops knew that some sort of heist would take place. They didn't know where or when, but they were on their toes. When the heist took place, the cops checked on that license plate right away.

The bit about the boy recording license plate numbers was a bit far-fetched, but there was nothing unfair about it.

Still, I think it would have been better if Bunny (the friend) had shown up to the house before any of the guys left with their share of the money. Then it could be assumed that it took the cops longer to get there.

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On 8/13/2018 at 1:29 AM, kjrwe said:

Oh, I think that the cops were onto them before the heist even took place.

Remember that the one cop got the license plate of the leader's car when they were in the warehouse. The cop might have seen more than they realized. Therefore, the cops knew that some sort of heist would take place. They didn't know where or when, but they were on their toes. When the heist took place, the cops checked on that license plate right away.

The bit about the boy recording license plate numbers was a bit far-fetched, but there was nothing unfair about it.

Still, I think it would have been better if Bunny (the friend) had shown up to the house before any of the guys left with their share of the money. Then it could be assumed that it took the cops longer to get there.

That makes sense.  They could have been waiting on something to go down. As far as the friend goes, it didn't make sense.  The time window was off on that...

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Probably an editing error. Or, like you suggested, they had their Code and the film had to wrap up quickly. Still, the film wouldn't have been much longer if the friend had shown up before ANY of the fellows left.

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Back in 2015 the film was on Hulu and I wrote this review:

The folks at Criterion selected three of Basil Dearden's films to include in a recent collection that pays homage to the great British director. Two of them are currently available for streaming on Hulu. This review covers one of those titles-- the marvelous heist film THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN from 1960.

GENTLEMEN resonates rather well for me, though I am not exactly a fan of this sub-genre due to its often repetitive plot twists. You know, where the caper promises to be a perfect crime, but then it all falls apart and fails miserably. But perhaps I enjoy Dearden's treatment of this subject, because he manages to avoid the clichés, and his version wisely does not lapse into predictability or sentimentality. It also helps considerably that such material is placed into the hands of a distinguished set of actors who slyly punch up the more dramatic aspects of the story, which was scripted by Bryan Forbes, who happens to number among the crooks.

Besides Forbes, the cast includes several first-rate performers. Roger Livesey plays a member of the cohort nicknamed Padre; Richard Attenborough is Lexy, a womanizing associate; and Robert Coote has a funny bit as a meddling outsider who inextricably becomes involved in the criminal activity. But it's star Jack Hawkins who holds it all together with his smooth portrayal of an ex-colonel that masterminds the robbery with his right-hand man-- I mean, major-- played by Nigel Patrick.

Another great thing about this picture is the pacing. The gathering of the gang; the next sequence of stealing the guns from a government base; the heist itself at a nearby bank; and the 'victory' party at the end are all evenly presented. It's a nearly two-hour movie that hums along nicely and gives us, at every turn, a sense of being pleasantly entertained. Yes, two hours of movie-watching time has been stolen from us by these gentlemen, but it is well worth the price.

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On 8/16/2018 at 8:55 AM, TopBilled said:

Back in 2015 the film was on Hulu and I wrote this review:

The folks at Criterion selected three of Basil Dearden's films to include in a recent collection that pays homage to the great British director. Two of them are currently available for streaming on Hulu. This review covers one of those titles-- the marvelous heist film THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN from 1960.

GENTLEMEN resonates rather well for me, though I am not exactly a fan of this sub-genre due to its often repetitive plot twists. You know, where the caper promises to be a perfect crime, but then it all falls apart and fails miserably. But perhaps I enjoy Dearden's treatment of this subject, because he manages to avoid the clichés, and his version wisely does not lapse into predictability or sentimentality. It also helps considerably that such material is placed into the hands of a distinguished set of actors who slyly punch up the more dramatic aspects of the story, which was scripted by Bryan Forbes, who happens to number among the crooks.

Besides Forbes, the cast includes several first-rate performers. Roger Livesey plays a member of the cohort nicknamed Padre; Richard Attenborough is Lexy, a womanizing associate; and Robert Coote has a funny bit as a meddling outsider who inextricably becomes involved in the criminal activity. But it's star Jack Hawkins who holds it all together with his smooth portrayal of an ex-colonel that masterminds the robbery with his right-hand man-- I mean, major-- played by Nigel Patrick.

Another great thing about this picture is the pacing. The gathering of the gang; the next sequence of stealing the guns from a government base; the heist itself at a nearby bank; and the 'victory' party at the end are all evenly presented. It's a nearly two-hour movie that hums along nicely and gives us, at every turn, a sense of being pleasantly entertained. Yes, two hours of movie-watching time has been stolen from us by these gentlemen, but it is well worth the price.

That was a great review. I didn't know Forbes was one of the gang  members.  Like you said the pacing was fabulous.   It didn't feel like a two hour film to me. Again, that was a great write up. Thanks...

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