Into a sleepy town, and into the home of the formidable senior citizen Irma P. Hall comecriminal mastermind/Foghorn Leghorn impersonator Tom Hanks and his dastardly crew.Pretending to be musicians, the crooks use Hall’s basement to tunnel their way to a casino shipand a big heist. Their carefully laid plans naturally start going terribly awry thanks both to Halland to the incompetence of the gang.
The original Ladykillers is one of the greatest comedies every…filmed, so the Coenspresented themselves with quite a challenge here. The comedy is never as black and nasty as inthe original, partly because Irma P. Hall is so imposing a presence that it is obvious the bad guysnever stand a chance, as opposed to the tiny and frail Katie Johnson in the original. The humourhere is much broader, but terrifically funny for all that, and there is more of the Coens’ patentedlove of verbose language on display. And, as ever, Roger Deakins’ photography is to die for.
The vocals in the gospel music are given a tremendous mix on the score, plunking theaudience into the middle of a virtual choir. The surround effects are just as strong, with well-nighperfect placement. An altogether first-rate soundscape, and a fine complement to the picture.
Every shot of this film is a perfect jewel of composition, and the transfer does Deakins’ workfull justice. The colours are superb, there is no edge enhancement or grain, and the image isheartbreakingly sharp. There is a word for the visual qualities of the this film: exquisite.
The Coens always maintain a low profile on the DVDs of their films, and this is noexception. There is no commentary, and the brothers only show up in “Danny Ferrington: TheMan Behind the Band”, which is an 11-minute featurette about the luthier who made theinstruments the gang members pretend to play. That’s it for your behind-the-scenes features, too.“The Gospel of The Ladykillers” allows you to see the gospel songs “Shine On Me” and“Trouble of this World” performed in their entirety. “The Slap Reel” is a rapid-fire montage ofall the takes of Hall slapping Marlon Wayans, and the cumulative effect is hysterically funny.The big feature is a DVD-ROM option: the ScriptScanner allows you to read the script at thesame time as you watch the film. The menu’s main screen and intro are animated and scsored,and the secondary screens are scored. Coming attractions trailers load with the disc.
A thoroughly acceptable remake, creating new effects by transposing the story from post-warEngland to the American South of today.
Special Features List
- Slap Reel Outtakes
- “The Gospel of the Ladykillers” Song Performances
- “Daniel Ferrington: The Man Behind the Band” Featurette
- ScriptScanner DVD-ROM Feature