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The Ladykillers (Full Screen Edition)
The Ladykillers
Full Screen Edition
Actors: Tom Hanks, Marlon Wayans, Irma P. Hall, J.K. Simmons, Tzi Ma
Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Genres: Comedy, Musicals & Performing Arts, Mystery & Suspense
R     2004     1hr 44min

Academy Award(R)-winning Tom Hanks (Best Actor, FORREST GUMP, 1994; PHILADELPHIA, 1993) turns in a hilariously original performance in THE LADYKILLERS, the laugh-out-loud comedy that explodes with outrageous wit and slapst...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Tom Hanks, Marlon Wayans, Irma P. Hall, J.K. Simmons, Tzi Ma
Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Creators: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Barry Josephson, Barry Sonnenfeld, David Diliberto, William Rose
Genres: Comedy, Musicals & Performing Arts, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Coen Brothers, Tom Hanks, Classical, Mystery & Suspense
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 09/07/2004
Original Release Date: 03/26/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 03/26/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 44min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 2
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, Vietnamese
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Member Movie Reviews

Michel D. (michelann) from WALNUT GROVE, MO
Reviewed on 3/28/2014...
I love this movie! It is hilarious with a super talented cast. Bungling would be crooks are almost always funny and these guys are so bad at what they (attempt) to do! Tom Hanks is, as always, in top form as the leader of a band of losers who plan on ripping off a casino by tunneling in from next door. Killing off a sweet elderly lady becomes part of the equation and no one wants to do that.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Steven R. (reclevel) from TUPELO, MS
Reviewed on 12/11/2012...
Love this movie!
Roland P. (ROLAND) from TOCCOA, GA
Reviewed on 12/10/2010...
Why did you do it Tom? It's not like you need the money.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Remake? Mainstream? So what - it is a great fun:
Galina | Virginia, USA | 04/15/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I could not stop laughing and enjoyed it tremendously. Tom Hanks was simply delightful pretending to be refined, highly educated, charmingly polite and smooth talking Rococo music lover Professor G.H.Darr who in reality was a very dangerous, ruthless and devious criminal that assembled the most hilarious gang of thieves (each has his special talent) to dig the tunnel through his landlady's root cellar to a casino vault and to steal 1.6 million dollars. As good as Hanks was, he was completely upstaged by Irma Hall who steals the movie as Marva. She received many awards for her acting and very deservingly. I know that many Coens' fans don't like The Ladykillers because
1. it is a remake of the 1955 movie with the same title and
2. because it is one of their most mainstream films.
I don't care - "The Ladykillers" has Coens' signatures all over - it is very funny, very dark, and uniquely beautiful visually - just remember the opening scene with two scary gargoyles and the garbage barge.

The Coen Brothers' Ladykillers: Sublime, ridiculous, artisti
Goat and Dog | Tennessee, USA | 07/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Ever since I first watched this film a couple years ago, I have been amazed at the bad rap it has gotten. It is just about lost as an entry in the Coen Brothers' formidable body of work, and yet I believe it is unjustly condemned. Many people do not see past the crude one-liners and stereotyped characters into the visual poetry and subtle irony that make it funny on a completely different level from the one that floats on the surface (like the barge that carries the trash of the town to the allegorically mythical "garbage island" in the movie).

For one thing, I really enjoyed the "Seven Samurai" method of gathering the caper gang, with the individual introductions showcasing not their strengths but their unique foibles and own personal brands of idiocy to be concentrated once they are gathered into Tom Hanks' professorial circle of "musician" thieves. On one hand, they work well together, their ostensible reasons for hiring being their professed qualifications; but as their acquaintances deepen, the broad individual comedy becomes syncretic and we are treated to the amusing spectacle of a bungling ex-hippie liberal civil rights activist spouting his old left-wing dogma to a modern gangsta black man who just doesn't give a crap "because I don't vote." The resumes are delicately presented by Hanks' too-genteel Professor Dorr; I guffawed when he introduced "The General" (Tzi Ma in a wonderfully understated and yet physically deft performance reminiscent of W.C. Fields or a dachshund-take your pick) as a man with "massive tunneling experience in the jungles of Southeast Asia," thus suggesting the Viet Cong without coming out and saying it.

Hanks himself is the very picture of an overdone Southern gentleman, so much so that we can scarcely believe it to be a real person he's portraying but that it must be a put-on. Professor Dorr is presented with imagery that suggests the entry of Old Scratch himself, his unusual curled coiffure suggesting horns and his smooth Southern gentleman act the very picture of the obvious liar and con-man. Ms. Munson is at first charmed and then, as she discerns the nature of his character, she sees right through the "doubletalk." Oddly, Dorr's caricature persona sticks even throughout the travails of the caper; even when he is under stress and in private, he does not break the "Professor Dorr" mask of character; his portrayal leads us to wonder if Dorr is more of a mental case than a hardened criminal. For one thing, he doesn't seem to be in need of money. He easily sends Ms. Munson and a friend to a concert many miles away in a limo; for Professor Dorr, it is the artistic nature of the "perfect crime" that interests him, not so much getting rich, although it is definitely a factor (here he seems to approach the Guinness character more closely).

The Coen brothers suggest by music, Bible verse and various sinister signs that perhaps Dorr is an agent of Satan, a test for the pure-hearted Ms. Munson. Irma Hall in this role is just unforgettable; the very picture of a god-fearing, principled and feisty old black lady who takes her preacher very seriously but doesn't quite understand what he's saying. When she goes on about "tunkeloparzen" at the Sheriff's office, it is gibberish, but somehow she is trying to quote the sermon from Daniel, Chapter 5, on the "writing on the wall" (Mene mene tekel upharsen) at the Feast of Belshazzar but fails and creates the idea in the minds of the underemployed members of the Sheriff's office that she's got several screws loose. (Incidentally, this message in the Bible is written by a disembodied finger, thus linking the beginning and end of this film with perfectly symmetrical Biblical imagery--the warning of the kingdom about to fall).

It is, in essence, a tale of heavenly and poetic justice. Everyone gets his or her just rewards, but the road by which this happens is fraught with supreme irony; and the one-liners and stereotypes are but window-dressing in this allegorical tale.

There are many elements shared from the earlier Ealing Studios film, but this entry is so thoroughly reworked and imbued with not only deep symbolic imagery but with over-the-top modern caricature that it defies being pigeonholed as a "crude comedy," which has been the wont of some reviewers. What you get out of this film depends on how closely you look at it and how finely developed your sense of ironic humor is. The parts described by some as "boring" are actually points of characterization and also setups for later ironic denouements. One could almost say that Poe's Imp of the Perverse was driving the action: the gangsta puts on his act but in the end he is moved by something very un-gangstalike. The ex-hippie liberal makes a show of caring for the rights of the underdog but is, in the end, just a greedy whiner whose very biological being is also "irritated." Lump is clueless, but by the time he gets a clue,'ll see. And The General I cannot praise highly enough. He has very little dialogue but evokes the spirit of W.C. Fields in many ways. In fact, I think the cigarette trick he does is one of Fields' tricks. He can also put on the face of the "innocent dachshund" when Ms. Munson reprimands him to perfection. And yet, of all of them, he seems to be the most hardened of tough guys. My favorite of his quotes, when asked by Dorr if there isn't a "middle way" according to Buddhism: "You must float like a leaf on the river of life...and kill old lady." So we see Buddhism doesn't offer the wicked a way out either! (Sorry, I find that funny).

To sum up I will say that this film may be enjoyed on several levels; those of you who are jaded with the stereotypical comedic portrayals of the gathered criminals may turn it off, disgusted with the lack of fresh characterization, but if one views the whole with the visual cues that suggest Mississippi as a balmy stage for a bizarre battle between good and evil and the poetic irony that assails the criminals in the most hilarious manner possible--the movie becomes both sublime AND ridiculous. The sermons, seen by many as unnecessary and run-on, closely accord with the action and the tests put before Ms. Munson. Even though she seems to miss the intended message sometimes, she is pure of heart and therefore beloved of God.

An interesting note about her dead husband, Othar: it is possible that he may be based in part on the well-known fife player Othar Turner, who also "burned his own fife," as Ms. Munson is telling Professor Dorr in a quiet scene. This same scene also contains a horrid joke about "blowing the shofar," which has to be explained to us Gentiles, but to a Jew it'd be a side-splitter, if a crude one. But that about sums up the way comedy is presented in this film. The most hilarious parts are not always the ones that are the most obvious, but as a whole, it is transcendentally funny. Did I mention how beautiful the photography is in this film? The motif of the garbage barge moving slowly through, receiving the refuse from the caper, inexorable but undeniable, the gargoyles of the bridge performing their ancient functions with the help of Poe's raven... the sleepy Southern town purges its evil. This film is both comedic and highly artistic, and I'd expect no less from the Coen Brothers.
A Serious Disappointment.
Bernard Chapin | CHICAGO! USA | 06/09/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Well, my major problem with The Ladykillers is that it was made by the Coen brothers who are the finest filmmakers in the world this side of Marty Scorsese. This has to be the only movie they've made which I'd describe as being below average, and that's really all that it is. The Ladykillers is not a bad movie, but considering the quality of its creators, its mediocrity comes as quite a shock. I don't agree with the other reviewers in regards to Tom Hanks. I think he gives a credible performance. I think the production's real problem is a result of its low quality plot. The original film with Alec Guinness was not great and attempting to update it was not advisable. Personally, I hope that this movie is just a mulligan for the Coen brothers and not a reflection of their diminishing genius. Everyone is entitled to a mistake once in awhile and no better word embodies The Ladykillers."