The Ladykillers (1955) revisited

We were only 6 members aged between 58 and 81 to see The Ladykillers. 

A good discussion followed the viewing. Subjects :  stereotyping, the ambiguity of Mrs.Wilberforce’s character, her clothes,  the word irritating was often voiced,  the difficulty of agreeing on slapstick humour. Generally I was surprised that my feelings of warmth and recognition towards Mrs. W. were not shared by everybody.( see my post Oct 2009 ) 

Comments written immediately after The End.

  • Not keen of film – portrayed Mrs.W. and her friends as being naive and rather stupid. Also showed a negative male attitude to women of this age/type.
  • The decency of Mrs. W. was believable –  she was also no fool. It undermined the criminals’ plans  –  they were disarmed and outwitted. Wonderfully done and funny.
  • Amusing, silly. Totally incredible but well contrived. All the characters were stereotypes not just Mrs. Wilberforce. The crooks are much more stupid than she is, so it is not fundamentally sexist and ageist, only superficially
  • A charming comedy revolving around the humour arising from the old woman being both clueless and feisty. I felt that although she was feisty that it was overall negative stereotyping.
  • Hilarious. She was shown both as quite forceful and very dense. I would have preferred her to demand a share of the money for transporting it. I loved it in general but I thought the way they persuaded her that there was no point in returning the money was sexist.

About rinaross

Born in 1935. MA in Film and Television Studies at the University of Westminster 1998. Studying the representation of older women in film since then.
This entry was posted in Ageing, Ageism, FILM RECEPTION and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Ladykillers (1955) revisited

  1. vigo says:

    Signposting any conversation with tags like ‘stereotyping’ or ‘ageism’ or ‘sexism’ really indicatesthe reinforcing of a left identity politics agenda more than anything else. Unless you have texttual evidence/examples fromthe film, opinions are unsubstantiated.

    • rinaross says:

      The group comments are not intended to be a ‘study’ of the film but the raw first reactions of a group of people. Often in the subsequent discussion opinions are unravelled and explained. Of course the group has an agenda.

  2. vigo says:

    ‘ I loved it in general but I thought the way they persuaded her that there was no point in returning the money was sexist.’

    no ‘but’ ~ that was one of the messages of the film. The film makers showing how the prejudices held by the police and the crooks showed them to be wrong headed. Because of her age (and being seen as the ‘weaker sex’ )Wilberforces integrity and honesty is taken to be confusion, foolishness and naivety but she prevails, while those with those prejudices fail. Whats interesting with some of your commentators is how they have confused a portrayal of ageism and sexism in the antagonists in the film with a manifestation sexism and ageism so that de facto any person not conforming to ‘standard’ is no longer permissabl!. Ironic that this was one of the themes of the film and of Mackendrick works like ‘The Maggie’.

  3. rinaross says:

    I do agree with you.

  4. Rita Ferris-Taylor says:

    As a member of the film group, I think it’s important to realise that the comments are initial gut feelings that we are asked to write down immediately after the film ends, as a pathway to leaving these reactions and engaging with a more critical analysis of the film through the process of group discussion. (Rina does explain this elsewhere in her blog) Therefore, I think it’s unfair to treat the comments as if they were a more considered response or critical analysis because they were not and were never intended to be!! We do discuss textual analysis/refer to examples from the film during our discussions to support our ideas and often as a result, change our ideas or develop a deeper understanding of the film!!

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