Made in 1964 and released as part of the Jubilee celebration year, Crooks in Cloisters stars Ronald Fraser, Barbara Windsor and Bernard Cribbins in a simply brilliant Brit comedy classic.
Remastered and out on DVD for the first time on July 9th, this is another flick about the British affair with the loveable crook. After pulling off a daring train robbery, ‘Little Walter’ (Ronald Fraser) and his crew are forced to lie low, away from the attentions of the monstrous Superintendent Mungo. Setting up business in an abandoned island monastery off the Cornish Coast disguised as monks (pretty hard for ‘Bikini’ played by Windsor), it’s not long before old habits die hard. But eventually, the lure of the simple life starts to grown on them, the question being is it too late for them to turn over a new leaf.
Made two years before the infamous great train robbery of ’66, this was a time when crooks didn’t mean you any harm, they just liked to dodge the law a little bit. Like recent remastered Go to Blazes, Crooks in Cloisters is Oliver Twist without the songs. Barbara Windsor talks about getting ‘educated’ whilst Mervyn Hayes spouts poetry and fights with pigs and all the whilst, Fraser sets about the next big thing. There is something simply charming about this film that is most definitely part of an era that is well in the past. But the performances are beautifully funny.
Barbara Windsor is in her element as the blonde bimbo stuck in the middle of nowhere with a clueless bunch of crooks. Bernard Cribbins is impossibly young, but his face is a picture when Windsor serves up dinner… ‘What are they?’ he asks? ‘Sausages, what do you think they are?’ she replies, dishing up pale boiled bangers.
In the great tradition of Ealing Comedies and the Carry On films, Crooks in Cloisters is a pleasure to watch.
The DVD is out on July 9th, a great addition to any collection.