Stunning Behind-the-Scenes from 'The Ladykillers (1955), A Comic Crime Caper

The Ladykillers is a 1955 British black comedy crime film written and directed by Americans William Rose and Alexander Mackendrick. It is considered one of the best comedies produced by the historic Ealing Studios.

In this film, Alec Guinness plays Professor Marcus, the leader of a band of criminals who rob a bank from the rented rooms of an older woman’s boarding house. They succeed in their scheme, but their eccentric landlord’s (played by Katie Johnson) trumped-up suspicions about happenings in the neighborhood regularly lead to her having to go to the police station. The crooks decide to kill her when she reports the robbery and threatens to report it. When no one commits the crime, the men turn on each other, resulting in hilariously disastrous consequences.

The Ladykillers is unusual for an Ealing comedy, being made in colour. Rather than being lighthearted, the movie is primarily dark in humor and satire. The film isn’t slapstick nor tries to make you laugh constantly. Several subtle things in this movie make it funnier, such as the characters, the strange events, the overall atmosphere, and the well-written and constructed story itself.

Away from the macabre plot, the Ladykillers all got along famously. They also got along with the locals in North London. The following are some stunning behind-the-scenes photos from the making of ‘The Ladykillers’. This photo shows the relaxing cast off-set, chatting with nearby youngsters. When the stars arrived, King’s Cross residents were starstruck. The studio hosted a post-filming street party in Frederica Street, where the set designers built Mrs Wilberforce’s wonky house.

#1 English comedian and actor Peter Sellers in the movie ‘Lady Killers’, 1955

#2 Actor Alec Guinness dressed as his character ‘Professor Marcus from the film ‘The Lady Killers’, 1955

#3 Seventeen-year-old Judy Verity ‘Miss Jamaica’ meets some tough, but friendly characters, during a visit to Ealing Studios.

#4 British actor Alec Guinness cuddles in London with his new leading lady, Katie Johnson, who came out of retirement for her first starring role at the age of 76.

#5 Alexander Mackendrick On the Set of ‘The Lady killers’, 1955

#6 Alexander Mackendrick Danny Greenas One-Round Regie, 1955

#7 Peter Sellers as he appears in the role of “Mr. Robinson,” alias Harry, a member of the “Guinness Gang

#8 Professor Marcus (Alec Guinness) tries to convince Mrs. Wilberforce (Katie Johnson) that he had a good reason for participating in a robbery in the movie ‘Lady Killers’, 1955

#9 Cast of The Ladykillers, 1955

Cast of The Ladykillers, 1955

Harry (Peter Sellers, R) and Louis (Herbert Lom) look at each other in dismay as Mrs. Wilberforce (Katie Johnson), known affectionately as "Mum," opens the door at the Professor's (Alec Guinness) touch

#15 A scene from the Ealing comedy film “The Ladykillers”, 1955

#16 British actor Herbert Lom is pictured on the set of the film ‘The Ladykillers’, 1955

#17 British actress Katie Johnson is pictured on the set of the film ‘The Ladykillers’, 1955

#18 British actress Katie Johnson on the set of the film ‘The Ladykillers’, 1955

#19 British actress Katie Johnson is pictured reading her lines on the set of the film ‘The Ladykillers’, 1955

#20 London, England. 1955. Making the film “The Ladykillers”, 1955

London, England. 1955. Making the film "The Ladykillers", 1955

Director Alexander (Sandy) Mackendrick (left) explains to Danny Parker (in background), Peter Sellers, Katie Johnson and Alec Guinness (right) how he wants the scene acted.

#21 British actress Katie Johnson and legendary actor Alec Guinness a scene from the film ‘The Ladykillers’, 1955

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Written by Alicia Linn

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