Crooks Anonymous

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Crooks Anonymous
Crooks Anonymous.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Ken Annakin
Produced byLeslie Parkyn
Julian Wintle
Written byHenry Blyth
Jack Davies
Starring Leslie Phillips
Stanley Baxter
Wilfrid Hyde-White
Julie Christie
Cinematography Ernest Steward
Edited byJohn Trumper
Distributed by Anglo-Amalgamated Film Distributors
Release date
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Crooks Anonymous is a British comedy film from 1962. Directed by Ken Annakin, it starred Leslie Phillips and Stanley Baxter and was notable for the feature film debut of Julie Christie.



Captain "Dandy Forsdyke" (Leslie Phillips) is a habitual criminal who can't resist a tempting robbery. His gifts are for pickpocketing and safecracking. He never uses his real name, of which he's ashamed. However, he is engaged to Babette (Julie Christie), a stripper who wants him to go straight before they marry.

In love with Babette, he desperately wants to quit, but is always lured back into another crime by his associates. Babette comes across a society known as Crooks Anonymous which helps hardened thieves go straight. Founded by Mr Montague (Wilfrid Hyde-White), and funded by a generous legacy, they have an excellent track record. Babette agrees to help them cure Forsdyke.

Forsdyke is picked up during a robbery by a Crooks Anonymous man, Brother Widdowes (Stanley Baxter), who is disguised as a policeman, and taken to the Crooks Anonymous' headquarters. Confronted by Montague, Forsdyke admits that he wants to give up crime and marry Babette. They begin to interrogate him, and discover that he is a habitual liar, whose real name is Cox, who has never seen military service, despite his claim to be a decorated veteran.

Widdowes and Montague embark Forsdyke on a dose of punishment therapy and rehabilitation. They begin by locking him in a room filled with safes, which contain cigarettes, food, drink and a number of booby traps which make opening them a hazardous business. After a week of this torture, Forsdyke is beginning to crack. Nonetheless, he fails a test to see how much progress he has made, reverting to his old ways as soon as he is outside.

After a month of correctional therapy and reinforcement training, Forsdyke finally passes the test and is released into society. He moves into a house with Babette, gets a job working as Father Christmas in a department store and refuses an offer by one of his old pals to go back into criminality.

However, after consuming large amounts of alcohol at a Christmas party he passes out and finds himself alone in the department store, with £250,000 of takings near him in the safe. Forsdyke breaks in intending to steal the money, and then panicking at his relapse, calls Crooks Anonymous for help. They send their two top men, including Brother Widdowes, who also cave at the sight of the money. They in turn call for the Chairman who arrives with his Secretary.

Confronted with this unique opportunity, the five of them decide to steal the money and split it among themselves. They make good their escape, past the drunken night watchmen and head through the streets. They go to Forsdyke's house, only to be confronted by an outraged Babette, who demands they put the money back. Grudgingly they agree, as she threatens to call Scotland Yard and inform them of the burglary.

They successfully manage to return the money, unfortunately triggering an alarm which brings the night watchmen out. Just making good their escape, they breathe a sigh of relief. Forsdyke marries Babette and as a sign of appreciation they make her a Sister of Crooks Anonymous for keeping them all honest.


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