14 user 6 critic

Yellow Canary (1943)

Approved | | Drama, Thriller | 13 December 1943 (UK)
A woman wrongfully accused of being a Nazi sympathizer is forced to move to Halifax, a city in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.


Herbert Wilcox


P.M. Bower (by), Miles Malleson (screen play) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Anna Neagle ... Sally Maitland
Richard Greene ... Lieutenant Commander Jim Garrick
Nova Pilbeam ... Betty Maitland
Albert Lieven ... Capt. Jan Orlock
Lucie Mannheim ... Madame Orlock
George Thorpe George Thorpe ... Colonel Charles Hargraves
Marjorie Fielding Marjorie Fielding ... Lady Maitland
Franklin Dyall Franklin Dyall ... Captain Foster
Margaret Rutherford ... Mrs. Towcester
Claude Bailey Claude Bailey ... Major Fothergill
Sybille Binder ... Madame Orlock's Attendant (as Sybilla Binder)
Valentine Dyall ... German Commander
Cyril Fletcher Cyril Fletcher ... And Introducing Entertainer


In 1940 Sally Maitland is forced to leave England, ostracised as a Nazi sympathiser by everyone including her well-to-do family. On the ship to Halifax, Canada, she is courted by Polish aristocrat Jan Orloch and by awkward British navel intelligence officer Jimmy Garrick. She shows herself somewhat more amenable to Orloch's advances, and agrees to meet his mother in Halifax. Once there however, it becomes clear no-one is really who they say they are. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Blonde and Beautiful...Despised and Hated!... See more »


Drama | Thriller


Approved | See all certifications »





English | French | German

Release Date:

13 December 1943 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

El canario amarillo See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film received its earliest documented USA telecasts in Los Angeles Tuesday 27 March 1956 on KHJ (Channel 9), and in Memphis Wednesday 4 April 1956 on WHBQ (Channel 13). This would have been the edited USA release version. See more »


When the passengers of the ship are being checked by Canadian Customs upon arrival in Halifax, Major Fothergill walks right past the agent, following Mrs. Towcester, without showing his passport or being questioned. See more »


Ship's Steward: I've been torpedoed 5 times. Ah, you get used to it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: SEPTEMBER, 1940. See more »


Referenced in The Falls (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

Intriguing conspiracies and dark secrets in the fogs of London and Canada
14 May 2018 | by clanciaiSee all my reviews

This is a very clever thriller for its many fascinating details, its splendid dialogue and its total unpredictability. Anna Neagle makes a performance to go down in history, if all her other films will be forgotten, this one will not. Richard Greene also makes one of his best contributions, but the major male actor here is Albert Lieven as the Polish officer, who also makes probably his best performance. He was later to play the lead in "Beware of Pity" (on Stefan Zweig's famous and only novel) but is rather bleak there in comparison with this fascinating character; but this film is full of double characters, as if the major theme of the story and film was just that: double role play.

Herbert Wilcox, director and producer and Anna Neagle's husband, made his mark by witty innovations and brilliant dialogue, which places this spy thriller on a higher level than most, especially of the period. The intrigue is fascinating all the way, as you never can guess what will happen next, the film actually starts off with a profound mystery, as a man is found dead where someone just has been signalling to the Nazis bombing London in the 1940 Blitz, a mystery which leaves you hanging, and it's not until late in the film when you almost already have forgotten it that it is resolved.

The very introduction to the film is also worth a remark. Like in "Hamlet" two watchmen are chatting in the fog at night when the Blitz comes, but what they are discussing is Shakespeare. The other says Bacon, and there is an argument about it, until the second quotes Doctor Johnson: "If Bacon didn't write Shakespeare, he certainly missed his chance."

The scene is London and Canada, that is Halifax in Nova Scotia, and you reach the other scene exactly half way into the film, where Anna Neagle is stranded as a suspect spy or as a security risk placed under constant surveillance, while there is much more to it than that, as the action will prove.

Lucie Mannheim also makes a fascinating performance as the old lady Orlock, but the real original treat is Margaret Rutherford as one of her many delightfully eccentric old ladies - she dominates every scene she is in and gives a special relish of refreshment to the whole film.

In brief, this is and remains a timeless treat for everyone who would enjoy being intrigued.

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