|THE STORY OF THE EALING COMEDIES could have been an Ealing comedyone day an obscure British studio suddenly found it possessed a magical gift for droll, character-rich comedies. The gift lasted less than a decade, but set a standard for British comedyand made a star (and future Jedi) out of a chameleon named Alec Guinness.
The Lavender Hill MobGuinness gives a marvelous comic portrait of British boringness, as a security guard who figures his utter lack of personality will be the perfect cover for a heist.
The LadykillersGuinness (above) and gang disastrously use a clueless old landlady as cover, in the most gleeful black comedy of the 50s.
The Man in the White SuitThought-provoking comic fable in which scientist Guinness invents an indestructible fabric, and naively thinks humanity (in particular, the local mill owners) will be grateful.
Passport To PimlicoCold War satire in which a London neighborhood finds a medieval document making it part of Franceand secedes. True fact: Mike Myers wanted to remake it as a Waynes World sequel.