Gideon of Scotland Yard (1958)
All in a Days Work
As influential directors go John Ford is one of the most influential yet one of his most entertaining movies is quite different to what you expect. "Gideon of Scotland Yard", also known as "Gideon's Day", has the typical moments of light heartedness which Ford often incorporated but when it comes to style it doesn't have anything you would associate with Ford. You also wouldn't associate the subject matter with Ford either because this is a cop drama but do you know what, it may not be typical John Ford but "Gideon of Scotland Yard" is a lot of fun and simply entertaining.
It started as quite a typical day in the home of Scotland Yard Inspector George Gideon (Jack Hawkins - The Bridge on the River Kwai) as chaos abounds but it soon becomes untypical when dropping off his daughter Sally (Anna Massey - The Machinist) he gets a ticket from an efficient young beat policeman for jumping the lights. It is just the start of a chaotic day as he has to deal with a cop taking bribes, a sex murderer, a gang of robbers as well as an attempted bank robbery. And to make matters worse George's wife wants him to get some Salmon and get home on time so they can go and watch Sally's music recital.
"Gideon of Scotland Yard" is a cop drama with a difference because whilst we have various crimes from robberies to murders which in some case interweave the real focus is on Inspector George Gideon. It is George who we follow and watch as he has to deal with the numerous cases, phone calls, court appearances and a lot else. And this is where we have the elements of John Ford because as George's day gets increasingly busy we have the humour, the over zealous young policeman handing out tickets, the calls from his wife, the attempts to grab a beer & a bite but being constantly interrupted. It is a very simple movie but one which dashes a long interweaving chaos, crime and comedy to provide plenty of entertainment.
But the thing about "Gideon of Scotland Yard" is that whilst it does feel contrived as in George faces so much chaos and so many things interlink it also feels based on reality. Writer John Creasey, writing as J.J. Marric, wrote the novel on which the movie was adapted and was famed for his crime novels and so this day in the life of a busy inspector feels like it has come from what he has observed when researching crime stories. It is in fact quite clever as such because it is not what you expect from a crime drama but then it makes it more original.
As for the characters well we have a lot of from Jack Hawkins as George Gideon to Cyril Cusack as Birdie the informer and all the characters are entertaining and well played. In fact all of the characters are so well played that whilst Jack Hawkins is the main star watching Michael Trubshawe as the efficient Golightly or Dianne Foster as the distracting Joanna Delafield is as much fun.
What this all boils down to is that "Gideon of Scotland Yard" is not only not what you expect from a John Ford movie but also one which is a cop drama. But it is so entertaining watching the chaotic and humorous day in the life of Inspector George Gideon that it doesn't matter that it lacks the style of Ford's other movies.
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