THE LAVENDER HILL MOB (UK, 1951)
The acting by Guinness and Holloway is perfect. They are excellently supported by their acolytes Sidney James and Alfie Bass. Audrey Hepburn, then a bit actress in her fourth film, has a microscopic part. Thirteen years later, in "My Fair Lady," as a big star playing Liza Doolittle, she would be reunited with Stanley Holloway who played her father.
"Lavender" is a delight of witty structure and briskly economical pacing. Guinness had come to world-wide attention with his multiple roles in "Kind Hearts and Coronets" (1949). With "The Lavender Hill Mob" the comic, idiosyncratic Guinness persona itself was launched, in all its variations of quiet diffidence, cunning, stubbornness and that famous half-smile that seems to say "I know something you don't know."
"The Man in the White Suit" followed that same year,was also nominated in the straight screenplay category. Then came othe comedies: "The Promoter," "The Captain's Paradise," " The Detective,"" The Lady Killers," plus others in which Guinness had all sorts of roles: serious, funny or in-between, all unique.
"Lavender" is the kind of movie where you root for the thieves, but in its period films lacked the gumption to come out with the conclusion that often "crime does pay."