An Inspector Calls


I am reminded of this film, because all this next week a production of the famous JB Priestley play will be performed at the Hull New Theatre.

An Inspector Calls 2


Like all of us who admire the films of the fifties era, I am drawn to the 1954 version with Alistair Sim in wonderful form as the mysterious Detective.  

An Inspector Calls 4

ABOVE – The events are unfolding


An Inspector Calls 5

Quite a cast in this though – Alistair Sim above towards the end of the film

An Inspector Calls 3


An Inspector Calls 1954


ABOVE – An early scene in the film – the sequence of events start to unfold

Based on the J.B Priestly play it focuses on the rich and privileged Birling family and concentrates on a single night in their mansion in 1912. On this night they are about to celebrate their daughter Sheila’s (Eileen Moore) engagement to wealthy businessman Gerald Croft (Brian Worth) when they are abruptly interrupted by a mysterious Inspector Poole (Alastair Sim).



He arrives out of nowhere and quickly darkens the atmosphere as he begins to tell the sad story of the death of a young girl,  Eva Smith (Jane Wenham), who the head of the family Arthur (Arthur Young) had once employed in his factory.

Jane Wenham as Eva Smith

ABOVE – Jane Wenham as Eva Smith

As he unfolds his story it is like he is unzipping a banana as he systematically goes through the events of the girl’s life and as he does, each episode implicates one of the family – maybe not directly but certainly indirectly and each one, we learn, bears a responsibility for her death.

I had thought that Renee Ray was in this – but it was actually Jane Wenham. Had it been Renee Ray I was going to make the point that nearly 20 years earlier, she had appeared in a film with a remarkably similar storyline – ‘The Passing of The Third Floor Back’ made in 1935 with Conrad Veidt playing  a mysterious stranger who arrives, and takes a modest room at a block of flats – very run down – in fact rather than flats they are rooms let out by a cruel and greedy Landlord.  With all kinds of stories going on in there of a sometimes unpleasant nature, the mysterious stranger connects with them and brings calm and decency back – overthrowing evil – and then he disappears.

The Passing of the Third Floor Back 1935 3

This is a film I ask you all to see – Remember  it is ‘The Passing of the Third Floor Back’ – if you like An Inspector Calls you will like this  one

The Passing of the Third Floor Back 1935

ABOVE – Conrad Veidt the mysterious stranger arrives

The Passing of the Third Floor Back 1935 2


ABOVE: Renee Ray gazes up at him in awe – She knows that someone has arrived to help them

Actually although Renee Ray was not in the film ‘An Inspector Calls’  she had played in the stage play on Broadway and scored a success there



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