An Inspector Calls
Edinburgh’s famous son Alistair Sim leads the quality cast in this excellent 1954 adaptation of JB Priestly’s celebrated play. Set in small town England in 1912, it opens with the interruption of a dinner party at the home of a wealthy factory owner by the arrival of a stranger (Sim) who announces himself as Inspector Poole. The policeman says he’s investigating the suicide of a young girl and as the evening wears on he unveils a series of family secrets that implicate each member of the household in the girl’s death.
Revelation after revelation adds up to a very clever dissection of British society in the Edwardian era. Switching from charming to chilling, often within the same line of dialogue, Sim is perfectly cast as the copper with an ulterior motive. And the supporting cast, which includes a very young Bryan Forbes, acquit themselves admirably. As directed by veteran Guy Hamilton (The Colditz Story, Goldfinger) it’s far better than Stephen Daldry’s recent stage revival. No extras.