Too Many Crooks

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For the 1930 comedy film starring Laurence Olivier, see Too Many Crooks (1930 film).
Too Many Crooks
Too Many Crooks FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Mario Zampi
Produced by Mario Zampi
Written by Jean Nery (story)
Michael Pertwee
Christiane Rochefort
Starring Terry-Thomas
George Cole
Brenda De Banzie
Sid James
Bernard Bresslaw
Music by Stanley Black
Cinematography Stanley Pavey
Edited by Bill Lewthwaite
Release date
  • 8 March 1959 (1959-03-08)
Running time
87 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Too Many Crooks is a 1959 British comedy film about a bunch of inept crooks who kidnap the wrong woman. It stars George Cole as the leader of the gang, Brenda De Banzie as the victim, and Terry-Thomas as her husband. Sid James is another gang member.


The members of a gang, especially Sid (Sid James), grow impatient as their incompetent leader, Fingers (George Cole), botches the robbery of a fur store, the latest in a series of disasters. Fingers then comes up with the idea of robbing businessman William Gordon (Terry-Thomas). Gordon bluffs them into believing the police are on their way. Fingers refuses to give up, plotting to kidnap Gordon's daughter. However, he errs yet again and ends up with Gordon's meek wife Lucy (Brenda De Banzie) instead.

Thinking she will do just as well, Fingers demands £25,000 ransom for her safe return. To his surprise, Gordon gleefully refuses. The philanderer has been carrying on an affair with his secretary and would like nothing better than to be rid of his dowdy wife. Fingers desperately lowers his price over and over again, finally offering to give her back for a mere £200, but is turned down.

When Lucy learns of this, her love for her husband is extinguished. She decides to get revenge and soon takes charge of the gang (her wartime training in unarmed combat coming in handy). Knowing of Gordon's tax dispute with the Inland Revenue and his distrust of banks, she figures out where he has hidden much of his money. She leads the gangsters in stealing the cash and, for good measure, the furs and jewelry Gordon had lavished on his mistress, taking half of the proceeds for her share. On leaving Gordon's house through the bedroom window a lit cigarette is left, which unintentionally burns the house down. Gordon returns and, thinking his money is burning, repeatedly jumps into the burning building.

By coincidence, the next day, the newspapers report a gruesome murder, just like the one Fingers had threatened. Gordon jumps to the wrong conclusion, and Lucy makes him pay some more for his mistake. She has Sid and Fingers impersonate policemen investigating her disappearance. Fingers extorts most of the rest of Gordon's ready cash in exchange for letting the matter drop. When a real Scotland Yard inspector shows up soon after, Gordon loses his temper and raises suspicions of murder.

Desperate, he decides to flee the country. Fingers' ex-stripper girlfriend offers to provide a forged passport. He agrees to meet her later, after visiting his mother. Lucy guesses that he is going there to pick up a final stash of money. The gang show up and find him with a suitcase. When the police come to question Gordon further, Fingers takes the suitcase (containing £50,000) and leaves, Gordon being too afraid to raise a fuss. Then Lucy walks in on her now-penniless husband.

Fingers and his gang decide to keep all of this last windfall and not split it with Lucy, but as they drive away, the suitcase pops open unnoticed and the money is scattered on the road.


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