Emil and the Detectives

Date: 1935
Director: Milton Rosmer
Production Company: Richard Wainwright Productions

Stars: John Williams, George Hayes, Robert Rietty, Claire Greet
Location(s): Buckinghamshire, London

Region(s): ,


Young Emil Blake travels by train from his home village to visit his grandmother in London.  At the terminus he wakes up from a drugged sleep with his money missing.  He follows the man he suspects of stealing it and on the way meets up with a gang of boys who help find it in a chase round London.

Additional Information:

Screen captures by Adrian Grepnold

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Emil's idyllic home village.

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Roland-Francois Lack identifies this as St Mary's Church. Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire, and provides this GoogleStreetView.

Emil and friends up to mischief . . . . .

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High Street, Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire with GoogleStreetView (Roland-Francois Lack)

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. . . . running up to . . .

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. . . . Brill Windmill, near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire.

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Brill Windmill, which has since acquired a brick roundhouse base.

An idyllic home counties village.

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Ray Glenister provides the Google Earth View to support his identification of High Street, Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire showing that the sharp cornered house where the boy's arm overlaps has been demolished. (RL)

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A railway station by a level crossing . . . .

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. . . . on the Southern Region.

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A Man in a Bowler Hat leaves the train in London.

London Bridge Station in SE1 to be precise. All long gone and I'm not even quite sure which way this faced.

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The scene now, from ground level. (PW)

London Bridge forecourt, we presume.

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Taken from a similar position, we presume. (PW)

London Bridge. I think the row of small shops to right were still there until a few years ago, but it's now all bafflingly changed.

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The parade of shops stood in front of the curve of the original viaduct which can still be seen. (PW)

The bus station outside London Bridge Station.

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Looking across the present day bus station to where the building once stood. (PW)

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Don't suppose this shot helps.

Jean Biagiola, hairdresser. No record of this in London, maybe a set?

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Roland-Francois Lack found Jean Bragiola in Harrington Street SW7. Here's the Google Street View. Nothing left after wartime bombing. But look at the chips in the kerb.

But Boerio's Restaurant did exist on Hanway Street at the corner of Hanway Place off Oxford Street W1. The location also features in 'Rattle of a Simple Man', Expresso Bongo' and 'Play it Cool'.

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The same junction now. (AG)

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A residential court. Does it still exist? According to Ray Glenister it certainly does still exist, Colville Place, Fitzrovia W1 looking towards Charlotte Street. See also Capture 29. (RL)

Ah, something we do recognise.

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Piccadilly Circus W1, but where's Eros?

Piccadilly Circus, Swan & Edgar and Regent Street Quadrant.

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Oh there it is! Eros was moved in the mid-1980s . . .

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. . . . and if you believe the continuity, this is right opposite Piccadilly Circus. Where is it really?

An army of street urchins assembles. Taken from the window of a rather grand house. Facing St. Martins in the Fields in Trafalgar Square WC2.

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Looking towards Trafalgar Square across St. Martins in the Fields steps. Best viewpoint possible without access to the house or a VERY long selfie stick.

This is still accessible. The Piazza in Covent Garden WC2. The location and its surrounding appear in a number of films including 'Frenzy', 'Circle of Danger', 'Train of Events' and 'Nowhere to Go'.

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Covent Garden Piazza now.

Has an 'Inns of Court' feel. Someone will know.

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With full acknowledgement to Christopher Matheson who told me where I should stand to confirm his identification. Unfortunately I was not allowed on the grass to include that closer lamp. St. Paul's Church, Covent Garden, London WC2 (RL)

Soho Square in W1, looking towards Carlisle Street.

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Looking across Soho Square now. (PW)

Soho Square, panning north . . . .

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. . . . with Soho Street behind the tree to the centre. (PW)

Distinctive building. Will it still exist?

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It certainly does still exist, identified by Jules Ballantyne as Barter Street, London WC1 who advises that it also appeared in "Mr. Holmes" (2015) To replace Jules' Google Earth view. (RL)

Further up the street for more evidence. As per Capture 27, Barter Street, London WC1 (RL)

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At least some of the original buildings remain. (RL)

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Back to the courtyard. As capture 18, this is Colville Place W1 identified by Ray who notes that the same thoroughfare also appears in 'Man on the Run'. (RL)

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A set?

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A set?

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This looks like stock footage but was probably taken from the same viewpoint as Capture 22.

The pace speeds up with a taxi chase, going down the east side of Trafalgar Square . . . .

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The 'now' taxis weren't planned, it's hard to avoid them.

. . . and the south

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Nelson's Column is right behind the traffic light, honest.

Suddenly we're at Marble Arch in W1.

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The road layout is changed, now pedestrianised. But that didn't stop two huge parked vans blocking the sight-lines.

Marble Arch with the western end of Oxford Street in the background.

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The road is now one-way.

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Maybe there's a hidden clue where we are now . . .

. . . . but we're back the other side of Marble Arch again.

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Hard though it is to recognise now.

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The Man in the Bowler hat, played by George Hayes in classic pantomime villain style, pays off his cabbie. What looks like water behind the railings isn't, but there's the weirdest greenery on the right, possibly an ivy-covered corner.

An enclosed square.

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Christopher Matheson has provided the location, Franklin's Row, London SW3 looking into Cheltenham Terrace. A Google map shot to support. (RL)

A horse ride, or whatever they call them. The Mall? Rotten Row? Kensington Palace Gardens? . . . .

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Another location from Christopher and another Google Map image. St. Leonard's Terrace, London SW3 looking into Royal Avenue. (RL)

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. . . and a bridge. Ought to be easy but none quite match. The bridge experts will pounce instantly. As Peter says, Chelsea Suspension Bridge, replaced in 1937 (RL)

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A closer look at the characteristic bridge ironwork.

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An embankment, and two bridges, as suspension one in front of an arched one. Can't match them up . . . Peter adds, Chelsea Suspension Bridge and a floating pontoon. (SJ)

'H (or M) WATERMAN' above the girl's head.

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Given the "Waterman" clue Christopher Matheson has come up with 34 Harrington Road, London SW7 on the corner of Queensbury Place. A lightened screen capture reveals the ironwork where Waterman's board was affixed as supported by the Google Earth View. (RL)

Throgmorton Avenue in the City. Now gone.

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This is further along, not quote the same but gives the idea.

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Throgmorton Avenue in EC2.

Draper's Gardens off Throgmorton Avenue. If this was ever a garden, by then it was an alleyway.

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And now merely an office block.

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Throgmorton Avenue again.

Throgmorton Avenue at the corner of Draper's Gardens, which was opposite the still surviving Austin Friars.

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Approximate position.

The gathered army of street kids harries the Man in the Bowler Hat.

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The London Wall end of Throgmorton Avenue.

Austin Friars in EC2.

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The start of Austin Friars, from Throgmorton Avenue. The foreground railings have been replaced

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The Man in the Bowler Hat is chased past what looks like a city churchyard. All the evidence suggests to Ray Glenister that this is Throgmorton Avenue, London EC2 and Drapers Gardens with the pavement turning, far left, into Austin Friars and Capture 52. (RL)

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Back in Throgmorton Avenue again, I think. Does this section still exist?

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Cornered in an office entrance.

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Distinctive stonework which may even still exist. No, afraid not, it was demolished in 1936, a year after the film. Ray Glenister found it with the help and support of Brigitte. It was The London Institution and was in Finsbury Square as per Capture 57, see Wikipedia for details. (RL)

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Pan to right. This seems to have a slight curve. I tried and failed to match it to Finsbury Circus. We all agreed Adrian, it had the "feel" of Finsbury Circus but Ray went back in time and found The London Institution, the building was demolished in 1936. (RL)