To be fair, this is a fine example of the genre with a decent quantity of quirks and a well tempered plot development. It has that obligatory warm, colorful aura and sweet, naive dialogues and generally it's all nice and as expected. So, to be frank, it's not the film - it's me. Crime and comedy do mix...but more often, they don't in my book.
Neat if rather musty, this is in Ealing's more sly comedic vein, although much broader than the rapier wit of Kind Hearts & Coronets. One can never quite dispel an air of smugness, although that might have been acquired by the film long after production with its slightly undeserved reputation. Nevertheless a mordant gavotte, despite the unnecessary insertion of Frankie Howerd's barrow-boy.
Alec Guinness is a witty criminal brain with a creepy grin. He masterminds a caper with his not so bright colleagues using an old lady's house as front. Classic British comedy with many pleasant twists and turns, and charismatic performances. Black humour with charm all over. Too bad the mediocre Coen Brother's remake kind of ruined the original's fantastic ending for me.