Alec Guinness was an important actor, of course. He was world famous long before he played that hermit, Old Ben, but unlike many of his great films, Star Wars is still a hugely central part of modern culture. Perhaps it should have been more important to us that he played several weird roles in the wonderful Kind Hearts and Coronets, but to be honest, it was more mind-bending to see Kenobi robbing a bank in The Lavender Hill Mob.
This is a British caper film classic, in the style of The Italian Job, a nice counterpoint to the dense, grim crime films that were being produced in the US as noir disappeared into its own nether regions. It’s lighthearted and a joy to watch, and I won’t spoil it for you by telling you the plot. All you need to know, all anyone needs to know is that Kenobi robs a bank.
Half the time, I was expecting him to do the Jedi hand wave or go berserk with a lightsaber, but he stayed in character and used his mind to run the job. I suppose that was best for the film.
Several actors that went on to great things got their screen debut in this one, but the two that caught my eye were not on their first film, but still hadn’t played the roles that fixed them in my head.
The first, as you can see from the picture above, is Audrey Hepburn, who has a minor part at the very beginning of the film. She plays a charming young woman, so no real surprise there.
The second, and much more important in my view is Desmond Llewelyn, who played a tiny, uncredited role in this picture, later went on to scale the heights of movie glory. Why? Because he played Q in the James Bond films.
There used to be two film franchises that I would go to the movies for: Star Wars and James Bond. Star Wars lost that distinction after The Last Jedi (I skipped Solo because I hated the preaching, message-filled stupid of TLJ) and James Bond, which is still attractive (although we’ll need to see if the character, so beautifully neanderthal, survives much longer in this day and age. While he stays true to the original, the producers will get my money). So Q is an important figure in my movie-watching.
Anyhow, this is one to watch. Fun without any ifs or buts.
Gustavo Bondoni is a novelist and short story writer. He is the author of a fast-paced thriller entitled Timeless. If you enjoy your crime modern, edgy and international, then this one is definitely for you – have a look here.