Today: February 22, 2024
During a charity soccer match between top professional side Arsenal and touring amateur side Trojans, the Trojan's new star player collapses. When he dies, Inspector Slade of Scotland Yard is called in and declares it was murder. It takes all his ingenuity and another death before the motive is discovered and the killer revealed. Starring:-Leslie Banks and Greta Gynt. *** Local Caption *** Feature Film

The Arsenal Stadium Mystery

The Arsenal Stadium Mystery wears its affiliations boldly. It’s a football film. It’s a who-done-it. And it’s as British as fish and chips.

Amateur team The Trojans face their toughest challenge yet: a charity match against Arsenal in front of a capacity crowd. During game, the Trojans’ star player collapses—apparently murdered in front of 70,000 witnesses. 

Filmed at the iconic Highbury stadium, the film also stars several real life Arsenal players including Cliff Bastin and Eddie Hopgood. Brentford FC double for the Trojans’ on-pitch, and footage was filmed during the last match of the 1938-39 season, before the outbreak of war.

However what sets The Arsenal Stadium Mystery a notch above the usual fare is the wonderfully quirky Inspector Slade of Scotland Yard. Played by Leslie Banks–more familiar on film as the villain of the piece–Slade is a joyous creation, with Banks clearly relishing the opportunity to play against type.

Leonard R Gribble’s detective with penchant for theatre—and a hat for every occasion—featured in several novels and The Arsenal Stadium Mystery was intended to be the first in a series of features. Sadly they never materialised, but The Arsenal Stadium Mystery remains both a classic whodunit and a high-water mark for pre-war British film. Directed by Oscar-nominated Thorold Dickinson, it is featured here as a High Definition remaster from original film elements in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email: writerpaula@icloud.com

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