Thorold Dickinson, who directed the much superior 1940 version of "Gaslight", also directed this mystery, which was one of the first films where football played a very central part to the plot. It was Arsenal's last official league fixture before World War 11 and several of their players and staff were featured in the film. The Trojan players on the pitch were from Brentford football club.
The film begins with a promotional newsreel that introduces players from both Arsenal and the Trojans - both teams are watching but Trojan's star player is missing. John Doyce (Anthony Bushell) is a "swell head", who is romancing Gwen Lee (Greta Gynt - Britain's closest answer to a sex symbol in the 1940s) - but she is engaged to another player, Phillip.
As the game on Saturday progresses it is clear that Doyce wants to be the whole show and is not a team player - he is not popular among the other players. At half time he receives a diamond ring in a box - before the end of the match he is dead.
Enter the eccentric detective, Inspector Slade (Leslie Banks), who has been called away from organizing the annual policeman's panto to solve the murder of the philandering footballer. Meanwhile Gwen has gone to Doyce's flat collecting photos, letters and anything that may incriminate her. The police are anxious to find her and their search is made easy as she is a top model and her face is in every newspaper and magazine. They are hampered by Gwen's mysterious flatmate Inga (Liane Linden,a Swedish actress, who surprisingly made only a handful of films) who tries to throw them off the scent. Has she something to hide????
Everyone has a grudge against Doyce - he was also blackmailing some of his teammates. When Gwen is found dead, with a bottle of digitalis in her hand, Slade instantly suspects murder!!! With an ambiguous newspaper clipping about a body floating in the river Fosse, Slade feels that she was killed because she knew who murdered Doyce.
I thought it was an excellent mystery laced with comedy. I did not guess "who done it" but the person was found out in a very unusual way.
Did anyone notice the strange news poster that proclaimed "We Warn Hitler's British Friends"!!!
Leslie Banks is my favourite British actor. Even though his first film was the classic American horror film "The Most Dangerous Game", he also appeared to advantage in a couple of Alfred Hitchcock films - "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (1934) and "Jamaica Inn" (1939).
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