The Criterion Collection’s newest box set, “Basil Dearden’s London Underground,” includes four of the most interesting (and controversial) movies to have come out of postwar/pre-Beatles Britain. All are worth watching, but Dearden’s 1960 heist movie The League of Gentlemen is the pick of the litter. (Available on January 25.)
Jack Hawkins’s ex–army colonel plans a perfect bank robbery and recruits a group of former officers—Richard Attenborough among them—to pull it off. The plot’s reasonably tight, and the comedy’s so well played that the film gradually morphs into a character study: It’s an English prototype for Hollywood productions like Charade. (In fact, that film’s Cary Grant turned down the Hawkins part in this one.)
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