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Video Reviews: 'The League of Gentlemen' and 'Big Deal on Madonna Street'

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Thematically, Basil Dearden’s The League of Gentlemen (making its wide-screen video debut here) has much in common with Mario Monicelli’s Big Deal on Madonna Street; they’re both heist movies in which the crooks are small-time losers. But stylistically, they’re worlds apart. Big Deal sends up the entire genre, and though it’s shot in the best Italian neorealist style, it’s laden with sight gags that recall Chaplin and Keaton. League, on the other hand, while often dryly witty, plays the thriller game by the rules — and with a sexual frankness that must have raised a few eyebrows way back when, since two characters are clearly gay, including one played by a shockingly young and thin Oliver Reed. Both: A

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