How I love British comedy! They’re superb at the genre. Without all the slapstick or cheesiness. Hot Fuzz, In Bruges, Trainspotting, Death at a Funeral, The Full Monty, The Boat that Rocked and my list goes on. Then there was Ask A Policeman. Way back in 1939.
It stars Will Hay as Sergeant Samuel Dudfoot (I guess that name says it all) who runs a police station in the town of Turnbotham Round where there has been no crime for 10 years, 5 weeks, 4 days. A co-incidence that this is the exact duration of his service there? You know you’re in for a great one when Dudfoot explains on live radio broadcast that there’s been no incident of poaching for 10 years, 5 weeks, 4 days just as his colleagues, Constable Albert Brown (Graham Moffatt) and Constable Jeremiah Harbottle (Moore Marriott), proudly display their pheasant victims through the police station window. Speeding? No, not even speeding….vroooooommmm….oh, that was the doctor rushing to an urgent call.
As a result of this revelation, our esteemed trio is informed that the police station is clearly no longer required. So starts a frantic fabrication of incidents to try prove their services are in fact necessary. I wish I could tell you about the ridiculous tactics they use, however, doing so would mean spoilers of note. But…naturally…the plot thickens. All is not as it seems in Turnbotham Round where there has been no crime for 10 years, 5 weeks, 4 days… Without realising it, well, initially not, they become part of a real investigation while on their own staged one. The interaction of our officers is brilliant with Dudfoot always thinking that, as the superior officer, he has all the answers, Brown more interested in “my girl Emily” and Harbottle having some great one-liners. Throw in a headless horseman and what more need I say?
With a cast of only 7 credited actors (6 uncredited ones) and directed by Marcel Varnel, this is an absolute must-see that is fun right from the opening credits. The only “downfall” (both with the Super 8 and the DVD version) is the sound quality – you really need to listen hard in some parts to understand what they are saying. Overall though, this doesn’t make the movie any less enjoyable! So, try to get hold of this one – it really is worth every one of the 83 minutes.