Six Damn Fine Degrees #13: The Lavender Hill Mob

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness.

There’s a moment in 1951’s The Lavender Hill Mob that captures an important truth about the best of the Ealing comedies: our two genial leads, having nearly successfully executed the gold heist of the century, suddenly realise their plans are in trouble. They need to swiftly descend the steps of the Eiffel Tower or evidence of their crime might fall into the wrong hands.

The two men start awkwardly racing down the spiral staircase. As their speed increases, and their need to reach the ground fast overcomes their vertigo they both start laughing. At this tense moment in a heist film, with all their schemes about to awry, two middle-aged men beginlaughing and hollering with giddy abandon.

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Six Damn Fine Degrees #12: A Fish Called Wanda

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness.

One of the ironies of life is that John Cleese, responsible for some of the most (in)famously absurd sketches in Monty Python’s Flying Circus, is more renowned for his work on comparatively unadventurous, straight comedies, two of them being Fawlty Towers and A Fish Called Wanda. And yet, it’s no accident that both are revered: they’re deliciously funny and incredibly mean-spirited, yet brimming with an inimitable charm nonetheless.

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