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.
Stream The Ladykillers
What are people saying?
What are critics saying?
The New York Times by Bosley Crowther
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.
The Guardian by Catherine Shoard
It's a film with jazz in its bones and rhythm to its beats.
The New Yorker by Pauline Kael
This sinister black comedy of murder accelerates until it becomes a grotesque fantasy of murder. The actors seem to be having a boisterous good time getting themselves knocked off.