An Inspector Calls (1954)

Article 3376 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-29-2010
Posting Date: 11-11-2010
Directed by Guy Hamilton
Featuring Alastair Sim, Jane Wenham, Brian Worth
Country: UK
What it is: Mystery/drama

In 1912, the evening of a well-to-do family is interrupted by the appearance of a police inspector who informs them of the death of a girl by poison, and that he wishes to interview the various members of the family concerning her death. They discover that, unbeknownst to each other, they knew her… and had each engaged in an act of cruelty towards her.

This was based on a popular stage play, but because the story involves the various members of the family having interactions with the girl in question, it keeps from being stagebound by merely re-enacting the various encounters rather than just having the characters talk about it. It’s a powerful, sad story, full of substance, and very well acted by all (but especially by Alastair Sim as the police inspector), and there’s a definite tinge of eeriness about the proceedings as we discover the series of coincidences that led to each member of the family meeting with the girl. Still, that sense of eeriness isn’t the fantastic content here, but I’m not going to elaborate on the latter; the movie is saving it all for the final twist, and it’s best to discover that twist on your own. This one is highly recommended.

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