Emil and the Detectives was first adapted for the screen in Germany in 1931, and was quickly followed in 1935 by this version made in England and then subsequently missing for many years - it eventually turned up in the collection of a film buff in the USA.
The story probably needs no introduction; Emil is sent to London to stay with his grandma and cousin Polly with six pounds in his pocket, by way of the train to Charing Cross. But first he encounters the mysterious and creepy man in the bowler hat, who is up to no good. And in London he seeks the help of a gang of children led by The Organiser and The Professor to right the wrongs.
With John Williams as Emil, Marion Foster as Polly, Bobby Rietti as The Professor, and George Hayes as the OTT villain, this film benefits from good London locations - surprisingly not changed much from 1935 - strong direction from Milton Rosmer, and a good dose of humour.
A little scary for very young audiences, perhaps, but very watchable and nicely restored by the British Film Institute.
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