Dir: Milton Rosmer
Starring: John Williams and Mary Glynne
A young boy travels to London and after having his money stolen on the train, he enlists the help of a local street gang to help him retrieve it
This children’s detective adventure was a remake of the 1931 German film Emil und die Detektive, with the main setting moved from Berlin to London. Otherwise, it follows the original very closely even recreating many of the same camera shots. The initial film was based on the 1929 novel of the same name by Erich Kästner, who also contributed to the 1931 film’s script. There have been six versions of the film in total, but this is the only English version. The film follows young Emil Blake as he travels by train from his home village to visit his grandmother in London. He has his money stolen on the train journey down and quite a lot of this journey features in the film. There are scenes filmed at Southern Railway country stations that remain as yet unidentified and although there is a glimpse of an arriving train, the shot unfortunately cuts before the loco comes fully into view. Later though there is a very fine shot of an ex-LSWR Drummond Class L11 4-4-0 on a two-coach passenger service, but again this is at an unknown location. During the railway journey there is an additional shot of the wheels and motion of a GWR 4-6-0 tender engine. The platform scenes in this sequence are real, but the carriage interior is a set. After this there are scenes filmed at the original London Bridge station and in one, a locomotive is seen beyond the ticket barrier that looks like it is an SR Maunsell-designed N1 or U1 2-6-0 in its original form minus smoke deflectors. The film is announced as Emil and the Detective (a direct translation of its German name), though the plural form was the correct title of the English film.