Friday, 27 January 2017

An Inspector Calls (1954)

An Inspector Calls
An Inspector Calls (1954 film) poster.jpg

Directed byGuy Hamilton
Produced byA. D. Peters
Written byDesmond Davis (screenplay)
J.B. Priestley (play)
StarringAlastair Sim
Music byFrancis Chagrin
CinematographyEdward Scaife
(as Ted Scaife)
Edited byAlan Osbiston
Distributed byBritish Lion Film Corporation
Associated Artists Productions
Release date
16 March 1954 (London)
25 November 1954 (USA)
Running time
80 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
An Inspector Calls is a 1954 film directed by Guy Hamilton and written for the screen by Desmond Davis. It is based upon the play of the same name by J.B. Priestley. It stars Alastair Sim.




Set in 1912, a dinner party held by the upper class Birling family is interrupted by a man calling himself Inspector Poole, investigating the suicide of a lower class girl Eva Smith whose death is linked to each family member.[1]



In the original play, the Inspector's name was Inspector Goole.
[2]An Inspector Calls was filmed at Shepperton StudiosSheppertonSurreyEngland, under the auspices of the Watergate Productions Ltd.
"An interesting fact for me is that in J.B. Priestley's play the surname of the eponymous Inspector is 'Goole' whereas in the film his surname is 'Poole'. This has been the source of a few heated debates on the net and, initially, I was slightly disappointed in this apparent misnomer myself. However, it seems to me, that on the written page, 'Goole' can be used as the name of the protagonist without the reader making the immediate verbal connection to 'Ghoul'. However, in the spoken word, 'Goole' and 'Ghoul' are the same and therefore the final denouement of the film may be anticipated by the audience and much of the suspense lost." –Steve Hopley[excessive quote]
Although the play never shows Eva Smith, the film opens in flashbacks that show each member of the family's involvement in Smith's life. The relationships between Eva and Gerald, and later, Eric, are smoothed over in accordance with the censorship of the day. Still, enough elements are retained to give the viewer a good idea of the depth of involvements.
In the play, Eva is first sacked for being involved in a strike; in the film, she is simply sacked for suggesting that the wages requested were necessary to live on. Similarly, in the play, Sheila is trying on a dress when the incident with Eva occurs in the shop; in the film, the incident is over a hat.
The film makes the Inspector out to be more explicitly "supernatural" than does the play. In the play, he is ushered in by the maid, while in the film he simply appears suddenly in the dining room as if from nowhere, accompanied by an ominous chord in the background music. In the middle of the film, he inspects his pocket watch and asks Eric to enter the room. He states he has just heard Eric come through the door; but eerily he states this before Eric does come through the door. Likewise, at the end, when the family receives the phone call that the local police are on their way to question them, the Inspector is supposedly in the study, but when the family checks to see if he is there, they find an empty chair and that he has gone.


C. A. Lejeunefilm critic of The Observer, recommended the film; despite its lack of technical polish, its slow pace and often trite dialogue, she found it thought-provoking.[3] The film currently has a "certified fresh" score of 80%.

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