Mr. Denning Drives North
UK theatrical poster
Directed byAnthony Kimmins
Written byAlec Coppel
Based onMr. Denning Drives North by Alec Coppel
Produced byAnthony Kimmins
Stephen Mitchell
StarringJohn Mills
Phyllis Calvert
Herbert Lom
Eileen Moore
CinematographyJohn Wilcox
Edited byGerald Turney-Smith
Music byBenjamin Frankel
Production
company
Distributed byBritish Lion Films
Release date
  • 18 December 1951 (1951-12-18)
Running time
93 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Box office£70,197 (UK)[1]

Mr. Denning Drives North is a 1951 British mystery film directed by Anthony Kimmins and starring John Mills, Phyllis Calvert and Sam Wanamaker.[2] Alec Coppel wrote the script, adapted from his own 1950 novel of the same title. An aircraft manufacturer accidentally kills his daughter's boyfriend and tries to dispose of the body.

Plot

Wealthy aircraft manufacturer Tom Denning and his wife Kay have a daughter, Liz, who is having an affair with Mados, an international crook. Denning meets with Mados in an attempt to get him away from his daughter, but accidentally kills him with a punch when Mados falls and strikes his head. Instead of calling the police, Denning disposes of the body in a ditch. He tries to disguise the identity of the body by placing a large ornate ring on a finger. A gipsy finds the body and steals the ring. Later, torn with his guilt, Denning goes back to pick up the body only to find that it has disappeared.

Cast

Production

Film rights were bought by Alexander Korda's London Films.[3] John Mills' casting was announced in May 1951.[4] It was Mills' first film in almost two years.[5]

At one stage Dane Clark and Pat Roc were reportedly going to support Mills.[6]

Sam Wanamaker had been living in England since 1949 and was offered the part after writing to his agent from holiday in France asking if any jobs were going.[7]

The film was made at Shepperton Studios.

Instead of credits appearing on screen at the beginning of the film, a narrator announces the film's title, and then reads out the list of actors' names.

Reception

Box office

The film performed poorly at the British box office.[1]

Critical reception

The New York Times wrote: "this little melodrama serves as still another reminder, from a country that jolly well knows how to exercise it, that restraint can work minor wonders [...] Persuasive and tingling, minus one false note [...] No doubt about it. The British have what it takes."[8]

Variety reviewed the film in 1951 calling it "unconvincing and involved" where the direction was "completely inadequate."[9] Two years later the magazine reviewed it more favorably calling it "tense and skillfully developed."[10]

The Washington Post thought the Rolls-Royce "made more sense than any of the alleged human characters [...] a bit pretentious."[11]

Leslie Halliwell said: "Initially suspenseful but finally disappointing melodrama which seems to lack a twist or two."[12]

In British Sound Films: The Studio Years 1928–1959 David Quinlan rated the film as "average", writing: "Film walks tightrope between comedy and suspense with varying success."[13]

References

  1. ^ a b Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p495
  2. ^ ""Mr. Denning Drives North"". British Film Institute Collections Search. Retrieved 1 November 2023.
  3. ^ S. W. (18 November 1951). "NOTED ON THE LONDON SCREEN SCENE". New York Times. ProQuest 111773898.
  4. ^ "Film news from Hollywood and London". The Sun. No. 12, 873 (LATE FINAL EXTRA ed.). Sydney. 3 May 1951. p. 40. Retrieved 3 September 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "Australian Angles". The Sunday Herald. Sydney. 17 June 1951. p. 12. Retrieved 20 March 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ Schallert, Edwin (25 April 1951). "Drama: Milland, Brian, Carter in 'Bugles;' Nat Holt Buys Oceanic Subject". Los Angeles Times. p. A7.
  7. ^ "Patricia returns". The Mail. Adelaide. 16 February 1952. p. 6 Supplement: SUNDAY MAGAZINE. Retrieved 20 March 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ H. H. T. (2 September 1953). "Movie Review – Mr Denning Drives North – A Cool, British Appraisal of Murder". New York Times. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  9. ^ "Mr Denning Drives North". Variety. 26 December 1951. p. 22.
  10. ^ "Mr Denning Drives North". Variety. 9 September 1953. p. 6.
  11. ^ Sproul, K. (17 June 1951). "The coffin corner". The Washington Post. ProQuest 152365227.
  12. ^ Halliwell, Leslie (1989). Halliwell's Film Guide (7th ed.). London: Paladin. p. 684. ISBN 0586088946.
  13. ^ Quinlan, David (1984). British Sound Films: The Studio Years 1928–1959. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd. p. 348. ISBN 0-7134-1874-5.