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Crooks Anonymous 1962
Description: A former burglar trying to go straight joins a rehabilitation scheme using much the same ways as AA. Through the process, he takes work as a department shop Santa, where the unlimited parade of goods and money, not to mention the cute young store hands have him like a moth to a flame in no time flat.
Released: 01 Apr 1962 Director: Ken Annakin Writers: Jack Davies (original screenplay), Henry Blyth (original screenplay) Actors: Leslie Phillips, Stanley Baxter, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Julie Christie Genres: Comedy, Crime
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Crooks Anonymous Reviews:

Dandy Forsdyke (Leslie Phillips) is a career criminal who has no desire to work--just steal and lie his method through life. However, his girlfriend, Babette (Julie Christie), has no patience for his conduct even though she inexplicably loves him. So, she gives him an ultimatum- -either change and live a respectable and legal life or she's leaving him. Dandy is in a bind--he loves being a crook but loves the woman even more, so he vows to change. On his own, however, he hasn't a prayer of going straight so he enlists the support of a philanthropic organization-- Crooks Anonymous! C.A. is much like a drug or alcohol treatment tool except that it treats thieves...but in the most unconventional way. I would tell more about C.A.'s methods, but you just have to see them to appreciate them!Later in the movie, Dandy has apparently changed--and certainly for the better. However, even with the support of C.A., what is Dandy to do when he's given the possibility to do a nearly excellent crime with very tiny risk. After all, it drops right into his lap! Well, what happens next is also something you'll just need to see for yourself--and it's quite intelligent and funny.I had a difficult time deciding whether to score this o 7 or an 8--either method it's very original and quite cute. Well worth seeing.


'Crooks Anonymous' was the second of three British comedy movies written by Jack Davies, directed by Ken Annakin, and starring Leslie Phillips, Stanley Baxter, and James Robertson Justice. The first was 'Very Necessary Person' ( 1961 ) and 'The Quick Lady' ( 1963 ) the last. The latter trio also appeared in 'Father Came Too' ( 1964 ), directed by Peter Graham Scott. Robertson Justice was the lead in 'Person', but here Phillips has that honour ( in fact the performer greatest remembered as 'Sir Lancelot Spratt' of the 'Doctor In The House' movies has a small role as the bombastic owner of a department shop ). Phillips is ex-army officer turned thief 'Dandy Forsdyke'. If it is not nailed down he will take it. He wants more than anything to wed his girlfriend, nightclub singer Babette ( Julie Christie ) but she insists he renounce his lifestyle. He enrols as a member of 'Crooks Anonymous' - a secret organisation related to 'Alcoholics Anonymous' only instead of curing folks of drinking they turn them away from crime. Forsdyke is set tests, usually involving Stanley Baxter ( as the creepy 'Widdowes' ) in different disguises, including a clergyman and an Edith Evans-style Duchess. Just as Forsdyke looks cured, the ultimate temptation comes his method - working as 'Santa Claus' in a department store, he finds he has simple access to its secure and all the takings within. He calls on C.A. for help. But will he receive it? 'Crooks' is a great tiny comedy, not quite as nice as 'Person' or 'Fast' but amusing all the same, almost satirical in tone at times. Phillips is as ever unbelievable ( in one of my favorite scenes Forsdyke is in a room full of safes which discharge nasty punishments - such as electric shocks - whenever he opens them ), testing the cad he is known and loved for to the hilt. In the opening scene, he goes into a jewellers and steals a diamond ring, looking very much like 'John Steed' of 'The Avengers' with his bowler hat and umbrella. Coincidentally, the jeweller is a clean-shaved Patrick Newell a.k.a. 'Mother' in the Linda Thorson shows. The concept of an organisation for criminals is a remarkably 'Avengers'-ish one. One of the producers - Julian Wintle - took over production of the hit spy present after it graduated from video-tape to film. It is fair to assume Julie Christie ( future Oscar champion ) does not place this very high on her curriculum vitae, but she acquits herself well. It should not have been simple trying to stand out in a movie starring the likes of Phillips and Baxter. Speaking of Stanley, most of his another pictures cast him as one character, but as the creepy 'Widdowes' he gets to do a Peter Sellers and dress up quite a bit. Also around are Wilfrid Hyde-White ( as the head of C.A. ), Harry Fowler, Cardew Robinson, a young Dennis Waterman, Dandy Nichols, Robertson Hare, and Dick Emery.Ken Annakin seemed fond of comedies with huge casts - he was also responsible for 'Those Superb Boys In Their Flying Machines' ( 1965 ) and its sequel 'Monte Carlo Or Bust' ( 1968 ).


This is an old black and white comedy that has not had a high recognition factor tied to it. A primary comedy that is simple to follow, a delight for all ages. Very amusing in parts, especially of Leslie Phillips as Captain Pierrs Oban Forsdyke and Stanley Baxter in a memorable performance as Brother Widdows. Classic!



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