The League of Gentlemen represents the ultimate of British reserve.
Though a full expression of the droll British sense of humor, it still fails to capture
the imagination. A methodical bank heist film, almost every aspect of the film is
sprinkled with a sly chuckle. Consistently enjoyable and even-handed, the films
chief failure is its civility.
"Gentlemen" is structured as a classic heist film. The
first part of the film is dedicated to introducing the heist team one by one as they are
recruited by their former Army Colonel Hyde. Played with perfect decorum by Jack Hawkins,
Hydes heist plans are a reaction to having been forcibly retired from the Army.
Hydes recruits all have served under him and have fared less than well in peace time
There are actually two capers in League of
Gentlemen, the first to
obtain the weapons needed to perform the second. Raiding an Army base, the troop hones
their questionable abilities under the watchful eye of Hyde and despite some unexpected
interference, manages to come away with the needed equipment. Methodical plans for the
heist ensue, with small excursions outside the tight circle of conspirators.
The bank heist is executed in swift strokes is rather simple in its
planning and execution. The most exotic element of gear are gas masks for the
perpetrators. Its surprising that it comes off as well as it does. But crime
doesnt necessarily pay too well in jolly old England. The celebration for the
successful heist meets with a surprise ending.
This is a very nice transfer from Criterion. Again, source materials
are very good as reflected in the resultant clean laser disc. The black and white images
lack punch, but overall detail is sharp. The soundtrack is delivered in simple terms
worthy of the heist.
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