The League of Gentlemen

1960

Comedy / Crime / Drama / Thriller

0
IMDb Rating 7.3 10 3975

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 02, 2021 at 11:25 AM

Director

Cast

John Richardson as Elizabeth's Lover
Oliver Reed as Babes in the Woods Chorus Boy
Nigel Green as Kissing Man in Truck
720p.BLU
1.02 GB
1258*720
English 2.0
NR
24 fps
1 hr 53 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by snaunton 8 / 10

English society as Empire ends

A British army colonel, pensioned off and embittered, assembles a motley group of specialist, criminal and deviant ex-officers who share his bitterness. He has in mind a bank robbery. They arm themselves, courtesy of their former employer, then execute the robbery impeccably, right in the centre of the City of London. The bags of loot are filled, but, at the pictures, crime seldom pays....

That this film has been reviewed as a comedy demonstrates, once again, that British and American are two cultures disguised by a common language. The humour here, of that characteristically British sardonic kind, is incidental to a drama of frustration, disappointment and inadequacy. The humour is just the way the British speak.

The clever and low key "raid" on the army training centre is finely done. So much so that it overshadows the robbery itself and therefore slightly unbalances the action.

This is one of those films, craftsmanlike and enjoyable, yet not desperately exciting, that finds its greatest value precisely in being a period piece. The League of Gentleman is a fascinating social document. Made in 1959, it catches the moment in British history when, as its Empire dissolved, the social infrastructure that supported it and that had made Colonel Hyde what he had been, also disintegrated. This aspect could almost have been deliberate, explaining the very long opening sequence (another unbalancing factor) that introduces us to the seven main characters. There are shockingly frank moments: the honourable man with the overtly promiscuous wife; the gigolo; the religious fraudster (or pervert - the message is obscured); another of the heroes an "other man", a homosexual; the pressure of life in a small house with a loud television set. So, too, the casualness with which machine guns are used in a robbery by men trained in the code of gentlemen. The dull and seedy presentation of Hyde's home and base, large but far from grand, is further evidence of the decline of his class. So, too, a robbery that was intended as a hymn to the effectiveness of military planning, brought to naught by one stupid mistake and a small boy.

Yet this is not a sententious film, their is no preaching, none of that British nostalgia for the old ways, but almost a respect for the robbers and a recognition that life had to become more ruthless as a stiff society began to flex. How it was elsewhere, I do not know, but this watchable film will show anyone what was happening in Britain just before the Sixties began to swing.

Reviewed by Terrell-4 8 / 10

A first-rate movie, witty and cynical, about a disgruntled, forcibly retired Army colonel and what he does about it

"Think of it as a full-scale military operation," says involuntarily retired Colonel Hyde (Jack Hawkins) to cashiered ex-major Race (Nigel Patrick). "What chance has a bunch of ordinary civilians have against a trained, armed and disciplined military group?" Hyde did not for one moment like being forced into retirement after 25 years in the British army. He spent the last few days of active duty doing some research among personnel files. Now, Hyde plans to get a bit of his own back...and Race, along with six other former officers, are going to be the means.

The League of Gentlemen is a cynical, stylish, witty film about a bank heist carried out with the precision of a Swiss watch, all thanks to Hyde's meticulous research. Among the seven men he recruits are Race, charming, shrewd, imperturbable and a reliable second-in- command...even if he does tend to call people "old darling." Race was forced to resign his commission because of a bit of black marketeering. Mycroft (Roger Livesey) was a superb quartermaster who was discovered in a bit of gross indecency in a public place. Lexy (Richard Attenborough), a talented and crooked mechanic and whiz with radios, was found to be selling secrets to the Russians. Porthill (Bryan Forbes) is always resourceful and is now a gigolo, but was discovered to be shooting prisoners in Cyprus. The others all had problems with being weak, or being discovered as one of those whose love dare not be spoken of, or of being responsible for the deaths of men under them. But, as Hyde points out, they were all superbly trained officers and they all need money.

Hyde brings them together with an anonymous invitation to lunch in the Maple Room of the elegant Cafe Royal. Included in the envelope is a copy of a book, The Golden Fleece, and half a five-pound note. After a fine lunch with a decent wine, brandy, cigars and the other half of the fiver, Hyde gets down to business. The mission? They will rob a very big and well- protected bank in the heart of central London, make off with at least 100,000 British pounds each and then live happily ever after. It will be called Operation Golden Fleece. With just a little reliance on greed, self-interest and perhaps a hint of coercion, he recruits them. Before long we're deep into training and organizing, setting up communications and stealing transport. In an amusing, tense sequence almost good enough to be a movie itself, they also bluff their way into an Army base and steal a substantial amount of arms. Do they actually pull off this complex heist that calls for split-second timing, nerves as cold as ice and flawless teamwork. Well, of course, and we get to watch it happen. Do they get away to lead a life of leisure? You'll need to see the movie. Be prepared for a very funny appearance by a twit of an old comrade of Hyde's, Bunny Warren (Robert Coote), and a twist which is handled with a stylish dollop of jaunty ruefulness.

Jack Hawkins, with that rough voice and no-nonsense face, does a fine job as Hyde, a man who can see the amusement in having few illusions. There is quite a collection of first-rate British actors in the men around Hawkins and they all are excellent. Bryan Forbes also wrote the screenplay. He was a clever actor who wrote and directed some fine movies, among them The L-Shaped Room, Seance on a Wet Afternoon and King Rat.

Reviewed by sol- 9 / 10

A heist for the fun of it

This is a heist film that really rises above the ante of its genre, due to the motivations behind the main characters. The characters are all former army officers, who were dismissed due to misconduct on their behalf, with the exception of the mastermind behind the robbery, who brings them all together. His name is Hyde, and he was halfway to becoming a full colonel before the army forced him into retirement. He is separated from his wife, and without army life, he has nothing left to do. So for the fun of it, rather than the money, he organises a heist.

The acting in the film is superb. The expressions that Jack Hawkins uses when playing Hyde signify that he is in it for the thrills rather than the loot. He looks on with joy, rather than stern, careful consideration, as he and his men organise everything that they need to do. He is in power again, since he is the head of the operation, and since he knows that everyone who he picks will want to go along. All of his men are not only crooks but ones with financial problems. And as the only one with plenty of money and no criminal record, he enjoys the idea that he can duck out at any time.

The supporting actors also show in the end that they are enjoying their work. While initially in it for the money, the return to army regulations - by which Hyde runs the operation - excites them. Nigel Patrick and Bryan Forbes are particularly good as the more suave members of the heist team. One problem though is that we never get to know the characters really well. They are defined by what we are told about them, rather than their actions, particularly with the Padre, played by Roger Livesey. A former quartermaster, he shows excitement at being able to take up the job again, but he is given very limited screen time, and his involvement with acts unbefiting a priest is oft mentioned, but his personality rarely shows anything more than that he is just another one of the men.

I find it rather odd that the film is marketed as a comedy. There is one section, when they raid the army, that is bouncing with humorous touches, and Gerald Harper, as a nervous army captain, gives off an excellent performance. The rest of the film though only has the slightest edge of humour, from Hyde badmouthing his wife to a rather awkwardly inserted cameo by Oliver Reed as a homosexual performer. The comedy is not important though, and the plot is intriguing enough as it is, but it does make the raiding the army section stand out, as it jars the film's mood and style.

If not flawless, it is still a very well made film. The rousing, grand music score is excellent, not just because it fits well over the action, but because it is sort of a parody of the scores of old war movies. The film looks great in black and white, and some of the sequences are very well shot. One example that stands out in memory is a shot where the camera goes through the walls of two different rooms, crabbing to the right, and swooping a little bit, almost like a person trying to not bump into a vase as he passes through a wall. The visual look of the film and the audio are just excellent, and well suited to the interesting screenplay.

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