Gideon's Day, also known as Gideon of Scotland Yard, is a late Fifties film based on a novel by J.J.Marric, which was one of John Creasey's many pseudonyms. As a small boy, I watched episodes of the TV series based on the character, George Gideon, which starred John Gregson (Gideon's Way), and when the film popped up on the schedules, I thought it was high time I caught up with it..Creasey wrote hundreds of books, but some people think that the Gideon series included much of his best work.
The film has a lot going for it. Directed by the legendary John Ford, it has a screenplay by T.E.B. Clarke, who is perhaps most renowned for that Ealing classic The Lavender Hill Mob. Gideon is played by Jack Hawkins, one of the most striking British actors of the Fifties, and there is a very good supporting cast. John Le Mesurier and Miles Malleson, two old favourites of mine, both appear in a scene at the Old Bailey, while Anna Massey, whom I once saw give a splendid performance on the stage, made her debut as Gideon's daughter.
The essence of the story is about the packed and varied day experienced by Gideon, and his hapless attempts to juggle work with his home life. He suspends a crooked subordinate (who is murdered shortly afterwards), solves a series of pay snatches (risking his life in the process), is involved in the hunt for a deranged sex killer, gives evidence in a court case, helps to save an informant from a razor gang, and catches a robber who has already killed the guard at a security deposit, Blimey! He even finds time to pop home for lunch and drop into a pub for tea, although both times he is interrupted before he can eat anything.
It's a film that must have seemed very topical at the time of its release,and like most topical stories, it now has a very dated feel. Mrs Gideon, for instance, is very much a housewife of the Fifties, and the portrayal of the police is a world away from Broadchurch or Happy Valley. During the first few minutes, I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy the film, but I did warm to it. A period piece, yes, but decent light entertainment.