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Ask a Policeman
IMDB Rating: 7.7/10 from N/A votes
Release: 29 Aug 1939 /

Ask a Policeman

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Crime
Director: Marcel Varnel,
Stars: , ,
Synopsis: The mirthful adventures of Police-Sergeant Samuel Dudfoot and his two constables, Albert Brown and Jeremiah Harbottle, who stage a fabricated crime-wave to save their jobs---and then find themselves involved in the real thing.

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Critic Reviews


Turnbotham Round has no crime, something that becomes common knowledge after a radio programme is broadcast from the village. Upon hearing this broadcast, the top brass at Scotland Yard send word that if there is no crime there, then why employ policemen to police the village? Realising that their good lives are about to come to an end, inept coppers Dudfoot {Will Hay}, Brown {Graham Moffatt} and Harbottle {Moore Marriott} set about making some arrests. What they hadn't bargained for was the uncovering of a smuggling ring, and the unleashing of the phantom headless horseman.

Much like Will Hay's Good Morning, Boys (1937) followed a similar formula to that of one of his earlier pictures, Boys Will Be Boys (1935). So it be with Ask A Policeman in that it has close links with critics fave, Oh Mr. Porter! (1937). However, that in no way is a bad thing because Ask A Policeman is utter joy from start to finish. In fact I would go so far as to say that the writing is actually better here. With a writing team consisting of Marriott Edgar, Sidney Gilliat, Val Guest and J.O.C. Orton, it's no wonder that the gags come thick and fast and still hold up over 70 years later.

Marcel Varnel once again directs Hay and his blunderingly magnificent sidekicks, Marriott and Moffatt, and each of them are on terrific form as they lurch from incredulity to stupidity within a heart beat. They are helped by the story and it's delightful supernatural set ups. These coppers have been having it easy for so long they have forgotten just what it takes to be a copper. More content with bending the rules for an easy life {note some nice satire in the writing}, these guys are suddenly faced with the supernatural and actual real crime. Something they are delightfully unable to cope with properly. From trying to set up a roadside speeding arrest to an attempt at solving an ancient smugglers rhyme, Ask A Policeman, courtesy of an across the board team on fire, is to my mind one of the greatest British films of all time. So pay attention to the jokes and admire the visual comedy that goes with them, and then hopefully you too will appreciate just what genius Hay and his cohorts brought to British comedy between 1936 to 1940. 10/10

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