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An Inspector Calls (1954)
Without doubt this is Alastair at his superb best. Based on J.B. Priestley's famous stage play and set in the year 1912, an upper crust English family dinner is interrupted by a police inspector who brings news that a girl, known to everyone present, has died in suspicious circumstances. It seems that any or all of them could have had a hand in her death. But who is the mysterious Inspector and what can he want of them ? Rather like Dickens in "A Christmas Carol", Priestley's primary concern in this play is that of "universal care" and we can see from Alastair's mesmorising performance that this is something with which he wholeheartedly concurred. Full synopsis
J.B. Priestley's Message in "An Inspector Calls" (G.C.S.E. Essay)

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Mr Birling: But good heavens man I can’t accept any responsibility. If we were all responsible for everything that happened to people that we had anything to do with, it would be very awkward, wouldn’t it?
Inspector Poole: Oh yes . . . . very awkward.

Sheila Birling : [about the girl who commited suicide by drinking disinfectant] Was she pretty?
Inspector Poole: Not when I saw her today Miss Birling, but she’d been pretty, very pretty.

Gerald : It’s the favourite haunt of women of a certain sort
Mrs Birling: Women of a certain sort? Here? In Brumley?
Inspector Poole: Yes, Mrs Burley, I’m afraid even Brumley is not entirely free from . . .that sort of thing.

Mr Birling: (exasperatedly) I don't intend to give you much rope. Inspector Poole: You needn’t give me any rope, Mr Birling.

cast list production credits

Inspector Poole

Alastair Sim


Guy Hamilton
Eva Smith Jane Wenham

Production Company

Watergate Prods

Gerald Croft Brian Worth Producer A D Peters
Sheila Birling Eileen Moore Screenplay Desmond Davis
Sybil Birling Olga Lindo Original Play J.B. Priestley
Arthur Birling Arthur Young Dir Photography Ted Scaife
Eric Birling Bryan Forbes    
Foreman Norman Bird

An Inspector Calls Lobby Card

Mrs Lefson Barbara Everest
Maid Pat Neal
Stanley George Woodbridge
Chip Shop Girl Frances Gowens
Mr Timmon John Welsh
Police Sergeant Charles Saynor

35mm, black and white, 80 mins

Interesting facts

"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