Excellent movie based on characters created by prolific author John Creasey writing as J.J.Marric. The movie was directed by John Ford. Jack Hawkins is at the top of his game as Inspector George Gideon of Scotland Yard. The movie follows a typical day in the life of the Inspector.
Gideon’s day begins as he attempts to have breakfast with the family,his wife Kate (Anna Lee), their two daughters and young son. The eldest daughter Sally (Anna Massey) is giving a violin solo at a concert that night. The first disruption of the day is when he gets a call from informant Birdie Sparrow. Birdie will only inform on any thing involving dope. He tells Gideon that Detective Sgt.Kirby is taking bribes from a dope dealer.
Gideon takes the two younger kids to school and drops Sally off at the concert hall. He manages to get a traffic ticket from young Constable Simon Farnaby-Green (Andrew Ray). He follows the letter of the law no matter who he has to hand a summons to. When Gideon drives off Sally realizes she forgot to give him a ticket to the concert. She tells Farnaby’Green to deliver it to him.
Gideon’s first order of business is to read the riot act to Kirby and let him know he’s been busted. Gideon then heads for a church where Birdie works. Julian Small, the Vicar is a laughing stock of the neighborhood kids. He keeps his commando background secret except to his daughter. While getting more info from Birdie, Gideon gets a call about a payroll robbery. The only clue is a tire track.
Gideon pays a visit to Kirby’s older wife. He questions her about the expensive flat and the top shelf furniture. She says Kirby has had a lucky streak at various dog tracks. Gideon says he’s had Kirby watched for a month and he’s been going to nightclubs with another woman. She throws him out. Out in the hall he runs into a police officer who tells him Kirby has been run down and killed. He goes back to the flat and informs Mrs.Kirby.
Back at the Yard he gets word a psycho is on his way to London from a hospital in Manchester. He’s suspected in the murder of an eighteen year old girl. He’s the elderly Arthur Sayre. He visits his niece Rosie. He can’t help but notice the way her young daughter Dolly walks up the stairs. Arthur kills her. He’s caught by none other than Farnaby-Green.
Gideon’s not happy to see him and gets him so flustered he forgets to give him the concert ticket. After he leave, Gideon finds out the tire track at the scene of the robbery matches the car than ran Kirby down. Mrs.Kirby shows up and admits her husband was hanging out with shady people. He shows her a picture of a woman found in Kirby’s locker. She says that’s the woman she spotted him with.
The bad guys spot Birdie being paid off by a cop and they get their razors ready. Gideon is trying to take a break in a pub when Birdie’s drunken wife comes in and asks him to have Birdie put into protective custody. Even though she’s upset that doesn’t stop her from charging a few drinks to Gideon. The bad guys go to the church where Birdie works. Small uses his commando training to knock them out. Now the neighborhood kids look at him differently. Gideon finds out the photo from Kirby’s locker is that of Mrs.Joanne Delafield. Gideon pays her a fast visit and tells her Kirby’s been murdered. A little later he finds out she has a connection to the payroll robbery and he heads back to her place. This time he may be there a while.
The ending sequence of the movie is funny and is a good wrap up to the proceedings. This is a must see movie for anyone wanting to see how to combine crime and comedy and not make it juvenile.
Anna Lee had a long career and is probably best known by soap fans as Lila Quatermaine on “General Hospital” (1981-2003).