Wednesday, 8 June 2016

The Teckman Mystery - film review

The Teckman Mystery is a British film of 1954, directed by the multi-talented Wendy Toye and based on a story by Francis Durbridge, who co-wrote the screenplay.  It's not a Paul Temple story, but the lead character, Philip Chance is another debonair crime writer who finds himself unable to resist poking his nose into a baffling puzzle. Durbridge was never afraid of re-working characters as well as plots...

On a flight from France, Chance (played by John Justin) makes the acquaintance of a young woman called Helen (Margaret Leighton). She happens to be reading one of his books and they start chatting. When he tells her that he's flying home to discuss the possibility of writing a book about a dead test pilot called Martin Teckman, she reveals that she is Teckman's sister. It also emerges that a woman who had been working on the Teckman has died, apparently in an accident.

Once back in London, Chance finds that his home has been burgled, but nothing has been stolen. He is then approached by a mysterious foreigner and offered a vast sum to fly to Berlin and write a series of articles. Can it be that someone wants Chance out of the way, so that he does not make progress with the Teckman book? We can guess the answer to that one, can't we?

There are some recognisable faces in the cast, including Michael Medwin (still fondly remembered as Don, the boss of Eddie Shoestring in that great show Shoestring) and Raymond Huntley. There's also a cameo appearance by Justin's then wife, Barbara Murray. This isn't a Durbridge classic, partly because Justin gives a far from compelling performance, and partly because the story doesn't boast one of his most cunning plots, but it's quite an agreeable time-passer.


Elgin Bleecker said...

Martin – Thanks for the post. British films of that era have a special quality. I hope to see this picture some day.

Anonymous said...

Just saw this.

It was a decent watch, but lacked excitement and action. I think Phillip Chance, as played by John Justin, could easily have gone on to do a series of these films, like The Falcon. A little curious, though, that he shares the very same profession as Durbridge's other hero Paul Temple. I suppose, with Chance lacking a wife, it mean he could have a love interest.