The mirthful adventures of Police-Sergeant Samuel Dudfoot and his two constables, Albert Brown and Jeremiah Harbottle, who stage a fabricated crime-wave to save their jobs---and then find themselves involved in the real thing.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Graham Moffatt ...
Moore Marriott ...
Glennis Lorimer ...
Peter Gawthorne ...
Charles Oliver ...
The Squire
Herbert Lomas ...
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Storyline

Turnbottom Round prides itself as the village without crime; there has not been an arrest recorded by the local police for years. Unfortunately, this is more to do with the inability of Sgt Dudfoot and his constables Jerry and Harbottle to so much as recognise a crime. With their jobs on the line, the trio attempt to stage a crime of their own, only to inadvertently uncover a smuggling ring and a headless horseman... Written by D.Giddings <darren.giddings@newcastle.ac.uk>

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29 August 1939 (USA)  »

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(British Acoustic)

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1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first section of the film contains an in-joke about Will Hay's real-life career. In 1937 Hay's radio show was 'faded out' to make time for a broadcast by the Prime Minister. Hay was furious and vowed never to broadcast again. A popular outcry led by the Daily Express forced the BBC to apologise before Hay would go back on the air. When Dudfoot's broadcast ends the same way, he says "The BBC always fade out the best items", and when threatened with dismissal he says "If only we could get the Daily Express behind us..." See more »

Goofs

When the garage door opens 'spontaneously' the wire used to pull it open is visible. See more »

Quotes

Sergeant Samuel Dudfoot: [Dudfoot and his two constables have made an arrest] Did you search him?
Constable Albert Brown: One pocket book, one watch, one pen-knife and no money.
Sergeant Samuel Dudfoot: One pen-knife and no what?
Constable Albert Brown: No money.
Sergeant Samuel Dudfoot: Come on, turn out your pockets.
Constable Albert Brown: Oh, alright. One pen-knife and fifteen bob.
Sergeant Samuel Dudfoot: Blimey! Will you never learn to be honest? He's as much our prisoner as he is yours... Here you are, five bob each.
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Connections

Referenced in Sleepy Hollow (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Polieceman's Holiday
(uncredited)
Music by Montague Ewing
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User Reviews

 
When the tide runs low in the smugglers cove...
5 September 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Turnbotham Round has no crime, something that becomes common knowledge after a radio programme is broadcast from the village. Upon hearing this broadcast, the top brass at Scotland Yard send word that if there is no crime there, then why employ policemen to police the village? Realising that their good lives are about to come to an end, inept coppers Dudfoot {Will Hay}, Brown {Graham Moffatt} and Harbottle {Moore Marriott} set about making some arrests. What they hadn't bargained for was the uncovering of a smuggling ring, and the unleashing of the phantom headless horseman.

Much like Will Hay's Good Morning, Boys (1937) followed a similar formula to that of one of his earlier pictures, Boys Will Be Boys (1935). So it be with Ask A Policeman in that it has close links with critics fave, Oh Mr. Porter! (1937). However, that in no way is a bad thing because Ask A Policeman is utter joy from start to finish. In fact I would go so far as to say that the writing is actually better here. With a writing team consisting of Marriott Edgar, Sidney Gilliat, Val Guest and J.O.C. Orton, it's no wonder that the gags come thick and fast and still hold up over 70 years later.

Marcel Varnel once again directs Hay and his blunderingly magnificent sidekicks, Marriott and Moffatt, and each of them are on terrific form as they lurch from incredulity to stupidity within a heart beat. They are helped by the story and it's delightful supernatural set ups. These coppers have been having it easy for so long they have forgotten just what it takes to be a copper. More content with bending the rules for an easy life {note some nice satire in the writing}, these guys are suddenly faced with the supernatural and actual real crime. Something they are delightfully unable to cope with properly. From trying to set up a roadside speeding arrest to an attempt at solving an ancient smugglers rhyme, Ask A Policeman, courtesy of an across the board team on fire, is to my mind one of the greatest British films of all time. So pay attention to the jokes and admire the visual comedy that goes with them, and then hopefully you too will appreciate just what genius Hay and his cohorts brought to British comedy between 1936 to 1940. 10/10


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