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Mr Denning Drives North on DVD

Monday, 22 June 2015 23:00 Written by 

Mr Denning Drives North - out now on DVDJohn Mills ("Great Expectations", "Gandhi") stars in this riveting British thriller in the Hitchcock vein. Tom Denning (Mills) is a successful aircraft designer whose life takes a rather dramatic turn when he accidentally kills his daughter Liz's disreputable suitor during an argument. Panicking and not wanting to sully his daughter's name, Denning makes it look like the deceased has left the country, and then dumps the body in a ditch to resemble a hit and run incident.

By placing a distinctive ring on one of the corpse's fingers, Denning assumes nobody will match the jewellery with the missing person. Despite his cunning plan, Denning is soon consumed by guilt, apprehension and plagued by terrible nightmares. After weeks with no news he is unable to sit tight any longer, divulging everything to his caring wife Kay (Phyllis Calvert - "The Man in Grey"). He returns to the ditch to find that the body has gone.

This excellent thriller was written by Alec Coppel who also wrote the screenplay for Hitchcock's "Vertigo", so the similarities in tone are not a coincidence. There are many suspenseful twists and turns as Denning thinks he has got away with his crime one minute and then the next some new evidence comes to light that appears to incriminate him. Right up until the very end you are not sure which way the hammer will fall.

Mills is brilliant as the quick-tempered, fretting anti-hero and the supporting cast are also great. Herbert Lom (of “Pink Panther” movies fame) plays the ill-fated boyfriend, Eileen Moore ("A Town Like Alice") is the worried daughter who senses something is very wrong, and Sam Wanamaker (“The Spy Who Came In From the Cold”) as Liz's next boyfriend, a focused but inexperienced lawyer who latches onto the case. For my money, however, it is Wilfred Hyde-White ("The Third Man") who steals the show as a wonderfully caricatured mortuary worker who keeps popping up at the most inopportune moments!

There are some choice one-liners to pep things up and the film bobs along nicely, never getting too dark or bogged down in detail.

The only special features are an image gallery and a promotional PDF document. The black and white picture quality is good, with no perceptible noise.

“Mr. Denning Drives North” (1951) is out now on DVD, courtesy of Network. The main feature has a running time of 89 minutes approx, carries a ‘12’ certificate and retails for £9.99, or less from


Last modified on Tuesday, 23 June 2015 07:58