HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Why Don't You Just Die!
Cranes are Flying, The
That Most Important Thing: Love
Man on the Run
First Love
Countess from Hong Kong, A
Storm Boy
Storm Boy
Frozen II
White Sheik, The
Whalebone Box, The
Hunt, The
Invisible Man, The
Honey Boy
System Crasher
Judy & Punch
Bacurau
Battling Butler
Vivarium
Seven Chances
Dogs Don't Wear Pants
Navigator, The
Knives Out
Hit!
Charlie's Angels
Passport to Shame
Le Mans '66
Keep Fit
Doctor Sleep
Friend or Foe
Brass Target
Mine and the Minotaur, The
Sky Pirates
Syncopation
Sea Children, The
Ghost of a Chance, A
Go Kart Go
Great Buster, The
Seventy Deadly Pills
Wings of Mystery
   
 
Newest Articles
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
   
 
  League of Gentlemen, The They're Trained For This
Year: 1960
Director: Basil Dearden
Stars: Jack Hawkins, Nigel Patrick, Roger Livesey, Richard Attenborough, Bryan Forbes, Kieron Moore, Terence Alexander, Norman Bird, Robert Coote, Melissa Stribling, Nanette Newman, Lydia Sherwood, Doris Hare, David Lodge, Patrick Wymark, Gerald Harper
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: A London street, late at night, and a manhole cover stirs, then lifts up as a gentleman wearing a three-piece suit and bowtie emerges, replaces it, and walks to his car. This is Hyde (Jack Hawkins), who returns to his home in a rundown country mansion in the city's outskirts and proceeds to cut in half a collection of fifty pounds in notes, puts them in envelopes along with a postcard, then places those envelopes in paperback books, all the same copies of The Golden Fleece, a thriller novel. After that, he posts them out to seven recipients, promising the other half of the cash if these ex-military men should not reply, but assemble at a gentlemen's club in town to find out what he has planned...

The nineteen-fifties was a decade where the heist movie truly took off in popularity, both with audiences and filmmakers, as a plethora were made and the genre showed no indication of slowing down come 1960 when the biggest example of the year was released, The League of Gentlemen. It was perhaps better known latterly as the inspiration for the comedy troupe of the nineties and later who all went on to shape the landscape of television, primarily, for decades after, but they simply lifted the title, and did not partake in any daring bank robberies (as far as we know). Back at the start of the sixties, it was clear something needed to shake up the United Kingdom culturally.

The fifties had seen the power of the British Empire all but dismantled, and politically the nation was feeling as if its importance on the world stage was eroded, but come the next decade, it found something else to dominate with: music, film, television, theatre, all the arts which the denizens of Britain embraced and revolutionised the forms. This little item looked forward to that newfound confidence, and back to the doldrums that had given birth to the next generation whose creativity provided so much benefit to the global society, as the characters are under no illusions that something has to change now the Second World War is drifting out of the immediate memory.

Each of the men Hyde recruits had been in the conflict, to varying degrees of success; some disgraced themselves in battle, others found themselves lost afterwards and disgraced themselves later, but the point is they each missed out on the promise that winning had held, and now are thoroughly disillusioned. Hyde offers them a lifeline, a chance to become financially independent, even leave the nation behind to start again, and after a little convincing they agree. This cast were, it hardly needs saying, impeccably performed and chosen as the faded gentlemen, as they all had experience of the armed forces and could understand where their characters were coming from, with the extended sequence where they practice their heist on an Army base presumably most satisfying for the actors and the audience alike.

Hawkins was going to have a difficult sixties as his previous status as one of Britain's biggest stars began to wane, and his chain smoking left him with the cancer that would take his voice and eventually his life, therefore though he was in very good, even classic films after this, The League of Gentlemen was a swan song for his most prominent decade, and he embraced every chance it gave him to shine. It was one of his best performances, humorous, yes, but not exactly a comedy as the heist is deadly serious, as are the reasons for it. Nigel Patrick was impossibly debonair as his second-in-command, and they were both supported by some of the finest thespians available for a black and white thriller directed by the always capable Basil Dearden. That underlying sense of desperation, that injustice that life did not turn out the way they were promised, lent a forward motion to the drama that every actor did well to convey. Yes, there were lighter moments, but the anger, the disappointment, rendered the whole film powerful, offsetting its clever plotting. A heist movie to measure others by. Music by Philip Green.

[Network's next-to-pristine Blu-ray has an audio commentary from star/producer Bryan Forbes and co-star Nanette Newman, documentaries on Forbes and star Richard Attenborough, and an image gallery as extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 435 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Basil Dearden  (1911 - 1971)

Dependable British director who began his film career working on Will Hay comedies like My Learned Friend, then moved onto a range of drama and comedy: a segment of classic horror Dead of Night, important crime film The Blue Lamp, The Smallest Show on Earth, excellent heist story The League of Gentlemen, social issues film Victim, action spectaculars Khartoum and The Assassination Bureau and quirky horror The Man Who Haunted Himself. Sadly, Dearden died in a car crash.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: