In one his most inspired and fondly remembered comedy roles, Alec Guinness is a hoot as Professor Marcus, the ghoulish leader of a gang of disorderly robbers. Posing as a music quintet to fool their landlady (Katie Johnson), they busy themselves farcically with crime. In a crowded field of funny performances, Guinness both blends in and stands out: His funereal pallor, epic gray scarf, and shocking dentistry make him look like Nosferatu with a bad cold.

Archival print courtesy of the BFI National Archive

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Alexander Mackendrick
Running Time
91 minutes
35mm, Color