The Ladykillers is a 1955 British dark comedy film. It is one of a series of classic post-war Ealing comedies. Directed by Alexander Mackendrick, it stars Alec Guinness, Cecil Parker, Herbert Lom, Peter Sellers, Danny Green, Jack Warner and Katie Johnson.
American William Rose wrote the screenplay, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay and won the BAFTA Award for Best British Screenplay. He claimed to have dreamt the entire movie and merely had to remember the details when he awoke.
After the successful heist, in which Mrs Wilberforce plays an unwitting but crucial role by escorting the loot through the police cordon, the real conflict of the film begins. As the gang leaves her house, One-Round accidentally drops his cello case full of banknotes. As they spill out in front of Mrs Wilberforce, she realises the truth and informs Marcus that she is going to report them to the police.
The gang, it seems, has no choice but to do away with her. No one wants to do the job, so they draw straws. The Major loses, but tries to make a run for it with the cash in hand. In quick succession, the criminals double-cross and kill one another, with the bodies ending up dumped into railway wagons passing behind the house. Throughout all this, the oblivious Mrs Wilberforce remains asleep.
In the end, the gang members are all dead, and Mrs Wilberforce is left with the money. The police, familiar with her strange stories, pretend to believe her account of the robbery but jokingly tell her to keep the money. Ironically, Professor Marcus had earlier assured her that, because the money was insured, any effort on her part to return it would only confuse things. She is therefore finally persuaded that keep it she must.
The British comedian Frankie Howerd has a cameo role as an agitated market fruit seller, along with Kenneth Connor as a taxi driver. A young Stratford Johns (Charlie Barlow from Z-Cars) plays the driver of the lorry that gets robbed.