Mrs. Pym of Scotland Yard (1940) Poster

User Reviews

Add a Review
5 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
Crackpot murder mystery with creepy elements and astonishing sexism
davidvmcgillivray-24-90581122 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Nigel Morland wrote more than 20 novels featuring Mrs Pym, but this is the only time the female detective appeared on screen. The relationship between her and her minion, Det.-Insp. Shott, may have influenced Margaret Rutherford when she insisted that her husband, Stringer Davis, join her in the Miss Marple films. Mrs Pym and Shott investigate the cases of two women who have died shortly after making bequests to a spiritualist group. The scenes shot at their meetings are unusually creepy for a British film of this period. Considering Morland was an experienced writer of detective fiction, the plot here is barmy. Mrs Pym uncovers clues that in reality would be impossible to detect and eventually deduces murder by vacuum cleaner, surely unique in literary and film history. But considering this was a quota quickie shot by an independent at the tiny Highbury Studios in North London (the single location is the street outside), the production values, performances and pace aren't bad. Incredible by today's standards is the attitude to women. The all-male police force believe that the department will collapse because a woman has been co-opted; and even Mrs Pym admits that the reason she's been assigned to the case is that only a woman could appear "goofy" enough to infiltrate a spiritualist society. Nevertheless there's an unusually prominent disclaimer in the main titles (see Crazy Credits) and it's possible that it was an afterthought because of the revival of interest in spiritualism during the War.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Preposterous but engaging
malcolmgsw29 January 2016
By the time this film was made so many crime and mystery films had been made that it would appear that producers were seeking even more complex and unusual plots and methods of murder to stump the cinema going public.In this case it is murder by vacuum cleaner.It is therefore rather difficult to take this film seriously.In fact Mary Clare as the female detective seems to go through this film with a smile on her face as if she is constantly wondering with amusement that she is actually getting paid to make this tosh..She is supported by a youngish Irene Handel and an impossibly young looking Nigel Patrick.This film may be rubbish but it is nevertheless extremely entertaining rubbish which does not outsmart its welcome.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Ludicrous but great fun.
Paul Evans27 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Now this film is far from perfect, but for some reason I found myself totally engaged in it, and really enjoyed it. The whole premise is ridiculous beyond belief, and the attitudes shown in this film will amuse some and horrify others, a 'woman' in Scotland Yard may have been an oddity back in 1940, but it helps serve as a reminder that luckily times have changed.

Death by vacuum cleaner is one of the most ludicrous things anyone could possibly have dreamed up, ludicrous, but entertaining. Mary Clare is utterly delightful in the role of Mrs Pym, the characters are big and well drawn, particularly Miss Bell, who is beautifully played by the wonderful Irene Handl.

The courtroom scene featuring the maid giving evidence is comedy gold, ridiculously funny, and there are chuckles throughout the remainder of the film.

Don't take it too seriously and you'll love every minute. 7/10
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Pyms Number Minus One
writers_reign29 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
If nothing else this quota quickie certainly has curio value; shot by a deservedly obscure director - this was only his third film and also his last - it top-billed Mary Clare in her only leading role and was one of the few times she played sympathetic and even that didn't quite come off because unfortunately Ms Clare just LOOKS sinister and is clearly unable to appear pleasant. Most viewers associate Irene Handl with the 1950s when she appeared as support in a string of comedies so it is surprising to find her in a substantial role as early as 1940 and even then this was by no means her film debut. The story, on which five people are credited, makes no attempt at realism as witness the solution to the search for a murder weapon - a vacuum cleaner - which Mrs. Pym deduces in the second reel. As I said it has curio interest only.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Plenty of humour but the mystery's rather ho-hum
Leofwine_draca10 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Mrs. Pym of Scotland Yard is a late 1930s murder mystery featuring Mary Clare who gives a warm performance as the titular Miss Marple-style detective who investigates mysterious deaths linked by the members of a psychic club. While it's interesting to see the era's craze for spiritualism make an appearance, this detective story is rather ordinary, although there's lots of humour to keep it moving along.

A lot of the film's goodwill comes from the comic pairing of Mrs. Pym with her associate, played by the delightful Edward Lexy who steals all his scenes as the long-suffering detective inspector. The mystery stuff itself is overshadowed by the endless humour, although death by vacuum cleaner is a novel concept, I suppose, if not entirely believable. A young Nigel Patrick and Irene Handl show up in support.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews