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Ladies Who Do (1963)

The "Ladies Who Do" are office cleaners. One of them discovers some hot stock tips and they make a fortune. They then make good use of it to save their old neighbourhoods from the wicked developer.


John Bignall (original idea), Michael Pertwee (screenplay)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peggy Mount ... Mrs. Cragg
Robert Morley ... Colonel Whitforth
Harry H. Corbett ... James Ryder
Miriam Karlin Miriam Karlin ... Mrs. Higgins
Avril Elgar Avril Elgar ... Emily Parish
Dandy Nichols ... Mrs. Merryweather
Jon Pertwee ... Sidney Tait
Joan Benham ... Miss Pinsent
Ron Moody ... Police Inspector
Cardew Robinson Cardew Robinson ... Police Driver
Nigel Davenport ... Mr. Strang
Arthur Howard Arthur Howard ... Chauffeur
Ernest Clark ... Stockbroker
Tristram Jellinek Tristram Jellinek ... 2nd Stockbroker
John Laurie ... Doctor MacGregor


The "Ladies Who Do" are office cleaners. One of them discovers some hot stock tips and they make a fortune. They then make good use of it to save their old neighbourhoods from the wicked developer.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

independent film | See All (1) »


are much more fun than Ladies who don't!




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Release Date:

22 June 1964 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Dame koje rade See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Jon Pertwee (Sidney Tait) was the younger brother of the screenwriter Michael Pertwee. See more »


Mrs. Higgins (Miriam Karlin) picks up a copy of the News of the World newspaper, indicating that it is a Sunday. However offices and shops are open, which would not have been the case in early 60s Britain. See more »


[Mrs Cragg overhears James Ryder and Sidney Tait bemoaning the fact that a financial backer has pulled out of investing in their company and that they will need to borrow money at a crippling interest rate]
Mrs. Cragg: [to herself] I'd give them a quid out of my own pocket if only they'd stop walking over my nice clean floor.
See more »


Referenced in The Curse of Steptoe (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

One of the greatest of British comedies, and it has a message
16 December 2010 | by robert-temple-1See all my reviews

The first thing that needs to be explained to people who are not British, or who are British but under the age of 30, is the title. 'Ladies who do' was the polite way of referring to cleaning ladies, or char women, up until fairly recent times in Britain. A woman who cleaned for Mrs. So-and-so would proudly say to her friends: 'I do for Mrs. So-and-so.' It was all a way of being polite in a class-based society so that a cleaning lady did not have to be called a cleaning lady. That is all gone now, and people today merely speak in a derogatory way of 'cleaners', who are all Polish or Estonian or Latvian and many do not even speak English. But at the time this film was made, 'ladies who do' were everywhere, and in London, where this film is set, they were all wisecracking Cockney women who made pithy irreverent comments in their charming East End accents, and made everybody laugh (or cry). This utterly hilarious film is based upon the premise that 'ladies who do' could get together as a group and systematically raid the dustbins of the offices they cleaned, and get hot tips for the stock market. This is indeed what happens. The story was written by Jon Pertwee, a comic actor who also appears in the film. He certainly knew more than a few char ladies, and his characters and dialogue are hysterically funny because they are so accurate. Apart from anything else, this is a first rate social history document! The leading presence on screen is the overwhelmingly dominant Peggy Mount. There was never anyone like her, she was a Force Ten Gale for laughter. She and her three chums and the old mother of one of them make up a quintet of breathtakingly brilliant character acting, who are so effective that they nearly eclipse the talents of the two male actors with the biggest parts, Robert Morley and Harry Corbett. I had the rare privilege long ago of seeing Peggy Mount in a lead role onstage in a serious play. It was Gerhard Hauptmann's THE BEAVER COAT, directed by Bernard Miles at the Mermaid in London. She was like a hurricane onstage. I have rarely seen such a powerful dramatic performance. If she had not been so busy being a comedienne for most of her career, she would have been recognised as a great dramatic actress. Apart from the hilarity and biting satire of this wonderful film, it has a very serious underlying message. The motivation of the char ladies is not to get rich, but to save their street, Pitt Street, from a rapacious developer who wants to knock down all their houses (they all live in the same street) and build a new development. They use the money they make by stealing inside information about stocks (including some from his own waste baskets!) to fight him and save their neighbourhood. It is a true 'peoples' uprising'. They even stage obstructions in their street to stop the bulldozers and prevent the police arresting them (one char lady snips the aerial off the police car to stop the police calling for backup). The performances of Dandy Nichols, Miriam Karlin, Avril Elgar, and Joan Benham are all marvellous, as ladies who terrify. This is a truly wonderful film, and a tribute to that British sense of humour which existed until recently but is now tending to be drowned out by the suffocatingly dreary 'political correctness' and poe-faced formalism of those mediocre political nonentities who have constituted themselves the regulators of public behaviour. To such people, laughter poses an intolerable threat to their ersatz 'dignity'.

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