The League of Gentlemen
The League of Gentlemen – 1960 | 116 mins | Comedy, Crime | B&W
A delightfully humorous British heist movie with a quality cast that includes Jack Hawkins, Richard Attenborough, Nigel Patrick, Roger Livesey and Bryan Forbes. Although the film starts slowly, once the essence of the plot is made known it begins to move swiftly.
After 25 years, Colonel Hyde’s (Jack Hawkins) unblemished army service career was abruptly ended by mandatory retirement. Embittered by his country’s ingratitude, before bidding a final farewell he spends some time in the War Office Records Department and departs armed with some very valuable information.
Over a year of planning passes before Hyde is finally satisfied his masterplan is thoroughly prepared and that nothing has been overlooked in preparation for Operation Golden Fleece, an ingenious £1 million bank robbery. After consulting the Army Records notes, Hyde selects seven names and sends each an invitation to lunch. Using a mixture of blackmail and greed, they all receive an enclosed novel – The Golden Fleece – that contains the outline for Hyde’s plan and a sum of money to ensure their arrival. When they all meet for the invited lunch, Hyde gives a summary of his intended plan, and exposes each person’s previous transgressions as evidence of their criminal tendencies; and so the League of Gentlemen is born.
Hyde is the leader and mastermind, Race (Nigel Patrick) is a black marketer, Mycroft (Roger Livesey) a fake priest, Lexy (Richard Attenborough) a crooked car mechanic, Martin (Bryan Forbes) a gigolo, Stevens (Kieron Moore) a blackmailed homosexual, Rupert (Terence Alexander) a subjugated husband and Weaver (Norman Bird) a browbeaten husband. His recruits are a team of like-minded former officers. Each will have a designated role in the bank robbery that Hyde plans to accomplish with military precision, and each will receive a share of the million-pound heist. Using weapons and supplies stolen from the Army by impersonating high-ranking officers, the scheme involves immaculate timing and requires all their military expertise to make it a success. An unexpected arrival, Bunny Warren (Robert Coote), appears at the celebratory party to divide the loot, and Hyde discovers just whose stupidity leads the authorities to the crooks whereabouts.
Bryan Forbes: Director
Basil Dearden: Director
Arthur Ibbetson: Cinematography
Joan Ellacott: Costume Design
John D Guthridge: Editing
Barbara Ritchie: Makeup Department
Harry Frampton: Makeup Department
Philip Green: Original Music
Michael Relph: Producer
Peter Proud: Production Design
Bryan Forbes: Script
Bill Daniels: Sound Department
EG Daniels: Sound Department
Harry Miller: Sound Department