TOM THUMB
1958, Warner Bros., 98 min, USA, Dir: George Pal

In this charming Brothers Grimm musical fantasy, a woodcutter and his wife are magically granted their wish for a son – but the boy is the size of a thumb. Russ Tamblyn is at his acrobatic best in the title role, and there’s some top comedic talent lurking in supporting roles, with Peter Sellers and Terry-Thomas as a pair of thieves and Stan Freberg supplying the voice of an animated toy. Oscar winner for Best Special Effects.


THE LADYKILLERS
1955, Rialto Pictures, 91 min, UK, Dir: Alexander Mackendrick

Among the last of the great Ealing Studios comedies, and one of the few shot in color, this delightful film stars Alec Guinness as Professor Marcus, a musician who rents a room from a widow (Katie Johnson) to use as a rehearsal space. At least that’s what he tells her; Marcus and his “string quartet” (which includes Peter Sellers and his future PINK PANTHER nemesis, Herbert Lom) are actually criminals plotting a robbery. When the old lady finally realizes the truth, the gang decides to kill her - but that’s easier said than done.


MURDER BY DEATH
1976, Sony Repertory (Columbia), 94 min, USA, Dir: Robert Moore

Eccentric millionaire Truman Capote invites six of the world’s greatest detectives to his mansion for “dinner and a murder.” When the sleuths (Peter Sellers, David Niven, Maggie Smith, James Coco, Peter Falk and Elsa Lanchester) arrive and discover that the host is the apparent victim, they attempt to solve the puzzle and survive the evening themselves. Neil Simon’s dazzling script parodies virtually all the conventions of the murder mystery while throwing in enough red herrings to keep the audience guessing until the very end. With Alec Guinness.


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