Death Goes to School (1953)

  |  Mystery

Death Goes to School (1953) Poster

A Teacher is murdered at an all girls school. Police investigate and discover that the staff room is full of suspects.

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21 January 2018 | stephenabell
| A Quick Fix Murder Mystery.
Apart from the '50's sexism, which for the most part is now comical, this isn't too bad a murder mystery.

When the body of one of the teachers is discovered dead on the Girlschool's grounds the police are called in. Enter DI Campbell (Jackson) and Sergeant Harvey (Kydd) to solve the crime. However, they are initially worried about solving the case as, "who can figure out the reasons in a woman's mind?"... problems we still suffer from today. They needn't have worried though as Miss Shepherd (Murray) is on the case too. Being a teacher at the school and a lover of mystery novels she takes it upon herself to investigate.

One of the good things about this story is that unlike many sleuths, Miss Marple and Father Brown as examples, the police actually utilise Miss Shepherd. It's nice that the "outside" investigator isn't a thorn in the polices side but a help.

Gordon Jackson is in his element as a hard-nosed don't hold back copper. You can see elements of his character in The Professionals, George Cowley, coming through in his portrayal of DI Campbell. So this remembrance, for me, helped to submerge me into the film, right from his appearance.

This is a well scripted and written story. There are plenty of suspects to be the murderer... in fact, most of the staff at the school could be guilty of the crime. The way the story unfolds is nicely done, though the narration from Miss Shepherd is a little irksome. However, I've never been a fan of the narration - unless it's "The Twilight Zone" style. I think narration should be shown by the camera and not heard. If somebody says, "They were shocked to..." then show them shocked. They're actors, the director should use their skills.

That said though, I would recommend this to all whodunnit buffs and murder mystery lovers. It's a short film, at just over an hour in runtime, so would be good for a quick fix. A good afternoon flick for the armchair detectives out there.

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