It’s 1912 and an upper class English family’s dinner is interrupted by an Inspector who is investigating the death of a young girl. The circumstances are extremely tragic and said, it just turns out that each member of the family can take part of the blame for her death.
J. B. Priestley wrote this play in the 1940s first being performed on stage in 1946 in the UK. Taking only eight years to have this feature film adaptation. The film made in 1954 and everything about this story is still so relevant to this very day. This was not the first time I have watched this film, I studied this play back when I was doing my GCSEs at school so when I was 14/15. I doubt my teenage-self really appreciated just how good this film actually is. Hence watching it again and now fully understanding not only how incredible the story is but this film is very well acted.
Inspector Poole turns up to the Birling household and it would certainly be a night they are going to remember forever. As he picks off each member of the family one by one and highlights the actions they took against the girl who died earlier in the evening. Never showing them the photograph at the same time though.
The story is a reminder of social class and that people still conform to how they are expected to act and that influences how we then treat people. Surely we can all think of moments in recent years that has still happened. Not really as a constant or everyday thing but you will always come across people who think they are better than you.
Each part of the story and acts the family members committed are horrible. It even puts them in a new light to the people who would think they know them best. I think age shows in accepting what you did was wrong. Sheila and Eric wanted to try to take responsibility for what they had done. Eric really did seem to try but without the support from his father he could not or felt he could not help Eva Smith. But was the Inspector actually real? The ending is so utterly fantastic!
Everything moves at a very good pace and you wonder how it could possibly get any worse. The constant reminder than you should always try to be kind to people as you have no idea what they have been through and what they are currently going through. I can fully understand why the play is still used to study in English and hope it continues to be. I have seen it on stage and it is very powerful, it has had many adaptations over the years as well.
Alastair Sim as the Inspector really is outstanding and leads in a very impressive manner. Having the charisma and passion to really show the worst of people. Something I love about films that are based and adapted from a play is that they rely on the dialogue and it really does highlight how powerful words really are!
I would consider this film a classic and must watch in all honesty as it really is unique that we can still learn from something that was written over 70 years ago.