Charles Crichton

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7.0 Lavender Hill Mob (1951)
7.4 A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

If English is your first language and you could translate my old Italian text, please contact me. Charles Crichton diresse due commedie importanti per i toni satirici. Hue And Cry (1947), su un gruppo di ragazzi che smaschera una banda di truffatori, e The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), sull'astuto colpo di un bancario maldestro che tenta di contrabbandare il bottino sotto forma di souvenir della Tour Eiffel. In a club of Rio de Janeiro, a British man is telling the story of how he got rich. He was a meek middle-aged bank clerk who one day devised a smart plan to steal the gold bullions that he escorts periodically in a bullet-proof vans. He ganged up with some crooks who managed (with some luck) to stop the truck and steal it. The cops found the clerk gagged and bound, pretending to have been the victim of a hold-up. The rest of the gang had already moved the gold to another warehouse, where one of them was going to transform them into little Tour Eiffel souvenirs. They were then shipped to Paris, where the gang planned to convene, sell them and retire rich. Unfortunately, when the bank clerk and the goldsmith arrived in Paris, they realized that six of the "souvenirs" had indeed just been sold to six English schoolgirls on vacation. The two then chased the girls all the way back to England. They managed to buy back five of the six souvenirs, but the sixth girl stubbornly refused to sell hers. The two followed her to a police convention, where she handed the souvenir to her father, a cop. The inspector assigned to the robbery saw the bank clerk trying to obtain the souvenir, and finally guessed the truth. The clerk and his accomplice then had to steal the souvenir, steal a police car and run away. After a long car chase, the accomplice was arrested but the clerk managed to disappear in the crowd. The bank clerk flew to Rio and started a new life. And this concludes the story that he has been telling. He and his friend get up and walk out, and we see that they are handcuffed together: the other man is actually a policeman who has just arrested the thief.

Il suo capolavoro sara` pero` A Fish Called Wanda (1988), scritto congiuntamente con Cleese dei Monty Python.

George is the ringleader of a gang that carries out a bold heist, a robbery that yields a bunch of diamonds. As they leave the scene of the crime, they almost run over an old lady who is walking her three dogs. The gang is far from united. George's girlfriend Wanda is cheating on him with Otto, an Italian who plays brother and whose main assett is that Wanda has an orgasm when she hears foreign languages. The two lovers plot to get rid of George after the robbery: Otto turns him over to the police with an anonymous call. When the police arrest George, he throws a key from the window. The two traitors open the safe (she is ready to hit Otto on the head and elope alone with the jewels) but find it empty. They have to pretend they are still faithful to George, who is in jail. And she has a plan: seduce George's attorney, so he will tell her everything he learns from George in jail. The attorney, Leach, is a stiff, conservative and dull man, and she, a sexy young woman, shocks him by pretending to be an admirer. This makes Otto very jealous, but she manipulates him easily. George only trusts his faithful assistant Ken, a stuttering lover of animals, tells him to recover the key and hide it somewhere. Kenn goes home, where Wanda and Otto are making love, and hides the key in the fish tank. Wanda sees him and, taking advantage of a distraction caused by her "brother" Otto, she steals it. But only Kenn knows "where" George moved the loot. In the meantime, George gets into further trouble when the old lady recognizes him as the man who almost ran her over. Otto realizes that George has ordered Kenn to kill the witness and makes fun of him.
The respectable Leach has a boring life with a boring wife. Taking advantage of a night when his wife and daughter are going to the opera, he gives Wanda a date. They meet at his house and she lets him touch her, while jealous Otto mounts guard outside. In a hilarious scene, Otto can't resist and walks in to threaten Wanda, who drops the necklace in which she hid the key. At that moment the wife, who had car trouble, suddenly returns. Otto and Wanda manage to escape, but the wife thinks the necklace is a gift for her and Wanda can't get it back.
Leach's wife is so happy that he gave her such a nice present that she remains adamant she won't give it back, no matter which lie he comes up with. Wanda gives a secret appointment to Leach, but jealous Otto finds out and ruins their date and terrifies Leach. Wanda is furious because she desperately needs to convince Leach to get her necklace back to her.
In the meantime Ken has been trying to kill the elderly lady, the only witness that can recognize George. But every time he, the animal lover, ends up killing one of her dogs. And then he follows the funeral to the cemetery and cries bitterly.
Wanda talks Otto into apologizing to Leach. Otto drives to Leach's place just when a burglar is entering the house. The burglar is Leach himself, who is faking a robbery to justify to his wife the disappearance of the necklace that Wanda wants back. Otto doesn't know and assaults him. Then he has to elope because the wife enters the house. She finds her husband beaten (for real) and the necklace missing. Leach has gotten the necklace and rushes to the new appointment with Wanda, where he finally returns the necklace. He also conquers Wanda's heart for real when she discovers that he can speak even Russian. Except that they can't consume their adultery because the owners of the house come back unexpectedly and find Leach naked.
Otto still wants to apologize and waits for Leach in front of his house. When he comes home, Otto attacks him and apologizes his way, but so loud that the wife overhears everything (that Leach was trying to rob his own house and that he plays around with another woman).
Ken's new attempt to kill the old lady ends, as usual, with the accidental death of one of her dogs. But this time the old lady is struck by a heart attack and really dies. Ken goes straight to inform George. Without a witness, George is free. George tells Ken to get four air tickets and be ready to leave as soon as he is released. Ken informs Wanda and then Otto that George is on his way. Wanda heads for the court. But Ken makes the mistake of mentioning that the loot is hidden at the airport. Determined to find how to retrieve the loot, Otto ties Ken to a chair and tortures him by eating his fish one by one. Ken finally confesses that the key is in the fish tank; but only to find out that the key is gone and Otto finally understands that Wanda the doublecrosser must have taken the key.
At the trial that should free George, Wanda surprises everybody (Leach the attorney and George the lover) by giving a testimony that incriminates, not clears, George. Instead of being released, George is thrown back into jail, after he tries to kill Wanda. Leach's misadventures are not over yet, as his wife, who has witnessed everything in court and understood he has an affair with Wanda, hits him and declares her intention to divorce him.
George has no choice but to bargain for a reduction of the penalty. Leach convinces him to confess where the loot is hidden, but it sounds like Leach is also trying to cheat George. Once gotten the information, Leach grabs Wanda, who was not expecting it (was planning to cheat everybody herself), jumps into the car, tells her that he found out everything she did, and drives to Ken's house, planning to run away with Wanda and the money. While Leach runs upstairs, Otto steals his car with Wanda in it. Ken and Leach chase them on a motorcycle all the way to the airport. Wanda and Otto have already checked in, but Wanda gets rid of Otto locking him in a closet. Leach also buys a ticket, and checks Ken in as luggage. As he is running to board the plane, Leach meets Otto who takes him hostage and humiliates by forcing him to step into a barrel full of some dirty fluid. Otto is about to kill him but the avengeful Ken comes to the rescue on a "rullo", and Otto has been smart enough to step into fresh concrete. Leach, wet and dirty, steps out of the barrel, climbs on the plane and takes his seat next to Wanda. Otto, who is not dead, clings from the outside to their window, the face covered with concrete, but the wind blows him away.

Coma (1978), based on Robin Cook's novel,

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