Jack Hawkins wittily embodies a colonel, bitter about being forced into retirement, who ropes a cadre of corrupt former British army men into aiding him in a one-million-pound bank robbery—a risky, multitiered plan that also involves infiltrating a military compound. A delightful cast of British all-stars, including Richard Attenborough, Bryan Forbes, and Roger Livesey, brings to life this precisely cali brated caper, which was immensely popular and influenced countless Hollywood heist films. –The Criterion Collection
Basil Dearden (born Basil Clive Dear; 1 January 1911 – 23 March 1971) was an English film director.
Dearden was born at Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. He graduated from theatre direction to film, working as an assistant to Basil Dean. He later changed his own name to Dearden to avoid confusion with his mentor.
He first began working as a director at Ealing Studios, co-directing comedy films with Will Hay, including The Goose Steps Out (1942) and My Learned Friend (1943). He worked on the influential chiller compendium Dead of Night (1945) and directed the linking narrative and the “Hearse Driver” segment. He also directed The Captive Heart starring Michael Redgrave, a 1946 British war drama, produced by Ealing Studios. The film was entered into the 1946 Cannes Film Festival. The Blue Lamp (1950), probably the most frequently shown of Dearden’s Ealing films, is a police drama which first introduced audiences to PC George Dixon, later resurrected for the long-running Dixon of… read more
Rogues in brogues. An antecedent to Hollywood caper films (Ocean's Eleven et al) and a tad sullied by association (a problem with the later). On its own terms a solidly crafted, if overlong, romp; in the context of British cinema rather an interesting bridge between the middle-class comedies of Rank and the more satirical Boulting Brothers films of the same period. Sly, although crime doesn't pay when you're rated A.
Totally delightful caper that makes one proud to be British. A roomful of British (& Irish) actors you’ve always wanted to see more of has a field day with a subtle tongue in cheek script by Brian Forbes (who also has a role on screen). Wide-screen, black & white glory as only the Brits of 1960 could do and accompanied by a rousing Boy's Own score just as droll as the script. Focus your mind and think of Britain!