Perhaps it is slightly labored. Perhaps it does have the air of an initially brilliant inspiration that has not worked out as easily as it seemed it should. Still and all, Mr. Rose's nimble writing and Alexander Mackendrick's directing skill have managed to assure The Ladykillers of a distinct and fetching comic quality.
A finely wrought image of terminal stasis, national, political (Charles Barr suggests the gang as the first post-war Labour government), and/or creative (the house as Ealing, Johnson as Balcon?). Whatever, Mackendrick immediately upped for America and the equally dark ironies of Sweet Smell of Success.
This is an amusing piece of hokum, being a parody of American gangsterdom interwoven with whimsy and exaggeration that makes it more of a macabre farce. Alec Guinness sinks his personality almost to the level of anonymity.