Scotland Yard Inspector George Gideon starts his day off on the wrong foot when he gets a traffic-violation ticket from a young police officer. From there, his 'typical day" consists in ... See full summary »
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Scotland Yard Inspector George Gideon starts his day off on the wrong foot when he gets a traffic-violation ticket from a young police officer. From there, his 'typical day" consists in learning that one of his most-trusted detectives has accepted bribes; hunts an escaped maniac who has murdered a girl; tracks a young girl suspected of a payroll robbery and, then, helps break up a bank robbery. His long day ends when he arrives at home and finds that his daughter has a date with the policeman who gave him a ticket that morning. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The church where The Rev. Courtney, Small and Birdie work is St. Ethelburgh's-in-the-Marshes. See more »
Simon's surname is credited as Farnaby Green, despite the dialogue explicitly stating that it should be the hyphenated Farnaby-Green. See more »
[Gideon goes to arrest a woman and is confronted by her lover who brandishes his gun at Gideon]
Insp. George Gideon:
There's a police car outside with two men in it. And if you were fool enough to fire that gun...
I don't see why you should speak in the subjunctive. I *am* going to fire this gun.
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Not that John Ford, surely? Nope, still don't believe it
British film-goers were by 1958 entirely used to police films set in London. They were part of a continuum year by year slowly ratcheting up realism and violence - and dropping the humour in the process. "The Blue Lamp" (1950) where a much liked elderly copper (the in-fact almost immortal actor Jack Warner who went on to reprise the role on TV for the following 30 years) is shot and killed by a downright bad 'un (the rather effete Dirk Bogarde), was apparently quite controversial in its day. The public's favoured cup of tea - or at least what was regularly served up to them in police films of the day was not too strong and not without trace of sugar. Bent cops didn't exist then, neither were detectives rough and insensitive with recently (ie 20 minutes earlier) bereaved widows. Rows and shouting were for the lower orders who were either quickly dispersed or shuffled off into separate cells. Jack Hawkins, iconic British actor of the time was heroism and gentlemanliness personified whether captaining a ship or being the sensitive father of a deaf and dumb daughter (the guaranteed weepy "Mandy").
British film-goers knew the rules of what to expect of both story and cast when it came to police films and it was nothing like the gritty US productions of the day. With a comparatively very low murder rate and cops who didn't carry guns the real life conditions were very different between the two countries. A British policeman's lot could appear a rather whimsical one by comparison.
Somehow John Ford, THE John Ford, comes to direct some of Britain's finest at a British studio in a production set in the streets of London based on a book by an English writer for an audience thoroughly used to a set of confined and unfamiliar conventions. Ford's favourite actor was John Wayne - the personification of plain talking, straight shooting and unrefined acting - rarely wasting a word when a punch will do. Here instead he has perhaps cinema's quintessential portrayer of sensitive masculinity being called on to steam-roller evidence from a widow, confront an underling with evidence confirming he's been on the take from "dope" dealers, solve a couple of slayings - and not forget the running bit of levity - bringing home the fresh salmon for dinner.
The result although fast paced and not without its moments - Marjorie Rhodes as a bereaved mother is electrifying - is nevertheless a cultural car-crash. Two very different cinematic cop traditions from either side of the Atlantic - one whimsical, domestic and a little jokey, the other harsh and procedural, each proceeding at a reckless speed towards the other and meeting in the middle of the screen. The result is something which clearly contains a mixture of both but which thereafter proceeds irregularly and uncertainly in various directions like particle tracks in a bubble chamber following a near light speed atomic collision.
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