Monday 15 December 1997
Every so often, a British film is released and desperate publicists invoke the word Ealing. In their dreams. The string of comedies produced by Ealing Studios were predicated on a view of England that is now unrecognisable in its economy, its politics, its social structures and, most importantly, its certainty. The studio closed on a high in 1955 with the brilliant black comedy, The Ladykillers, but this 1951 crime caper was a huge success from Ealing's peak, nabbing the Oscar for best screenplay. Alec Guinness (who lost the Oscar to Gary Cooper in High Noon) is the mild-mannered man who after years of service politely transporting gold bullion, suddenly decides it's time for a spot of grand larceny. Together with Stanley Holloway, Sid James and Alfie Bass, he melts down the gold into handy-sized statuettes of the Eiffel Tower and then the trouble begins.
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Life & Style blogs
The 10 Best Scotch Whiskies
America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
There's a snake in my hat! Snakes in tiny headgear becomes latest pet trend
Microsoft announces first exclusive Xbox One content: a documentary on the worst video game ever
Potential revolution in cancer treatment voted breakthrough of the year by scientists
- 1 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 2 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 3 Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
- 4 Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend
- 5 Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
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