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Holland (Alec Guiness) is a security man for gold transports from the
foundry to the National Bank, & has been so for 20 years. A lack of
fantasy, no real ambition, an annoying accuracy & an unshakeable
honesty have made him perfect for the job, but almost impossible for
What nobody knows of course is that he has in fact used the past 20
years in the gold transport to plan to one day rob it ... & has quite
some idea about how to do it, but not yet any idea of how to fence the
gold once he has it (he can't very well get rid of it in England, but
can't get a crate full of gold over the border just like that.
Then one day, like a godsend, he meets his new neighbour Pendlebury
(Stanley Holloway), who produces souvenires (like small Eiffel Towers) in
his home foundry, & soon he has him persuaded to help him in stealing
the gold bars & cast them into Eiffel Towers in his foundry, then ship
them to his business partner in France ...
But then the plan is on the verge of never making it past planning
stage when Holland learns that he has been promoted after all & starts
his new job (away from the money transport) next week ...
Since Holland & Pendlebury can't just rob the transport on their
own, they need a gang, but how to get a gang at such a short notice ? Bait
Soon they drop hints about a damaged safe everywhere they go, &
that same night, they find two criminals, Shorty (Alphie Bass) &
Lackery (Sid James) at their place, who are more than a little
disappointed at not finding a damaged safe after all, but are soon eager
to help Holland & Pendlebury to rob the gold ...
At first the heist seems to go as planned, only eventually is
Pendlebury temporarily arrested by the police (for something completely
else), then Shorty & Lackery almost panic, & in the end it looks
as if Holland is arrested as well - but ultimately Holland comes out as
teh hero of the day for bravely - if unsuccessfully - trying to defend the
country's gold, & actually his testimony is - at first - all the
police have to go on ... Holland's plan on the other hand, goes ahead as
It's only when Holland & Pendlebury have come to Paris, to pick the
Eiffel Towers (at the top of the Eiffel Tower, the real one, in fact),
that things start going haywire ... for some reason six of the gold towers
were sold, & not only that, to English schoolchildren ... & it's a
vital part of the plan that the Eiffen Towers do not come back to England,
which would endanger everything.
Holland & Pendlebury chase through half of France after the girls,
but in the end just miss them when they take the frerry back ...
but all is not lost, holland has found outh the school the girls go to
& soon he & Pendleburytry to persuade the girls to switch the
Eiffel Towers they have bought against new ones with an added bonus of 10
Shillings per piece ... & they iondeed get 5 of the 6 towers back,
only one girl does not only show reluctant, she even gives the Tower to
her good friend, a policeman. & suddenly Holland & Pendlebury have
to snatch the Tower from a policeman during a police exhibition, &
soon half the force is after them & they are even forced to steal a
policecar to get away ... & it almost works when they make use of the
radio to arrange it for the other policecars to crash into one another.
But in the end, Pendlebury is snatched by the police, Holland in the
other hand manages to escape to Rio, where he, with his 6 gold Eiffel
Towers, lives liek a king for a year ... before the police gets him as
One of these loveable British crime comedies that couldn't care less
that its lead characters are in fact an immoral bunch of criminals,
instead concentrates on telling its story as funny as possible but devoid
of cheap jokes ... now where have these times gone to ?