Mr. Denning Drives North

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Mr. Denning Drives North
"Mr Denning Drives North" (1952).jpg
UK theatrical poster
Directed by Anthony Kimmins
Written by Alec Coppel
Based on Mr. Denning Drives North by Alec Coppel
Produced byAnthony Kimmins
Stephen Mitchell
Starring John Mills
Phyllis Calvert
Herbert Lom
Eileen Moore
Cinematography John Wilcox
Edited byGerald Turney-Smith
Music by Benjamin Frankel
Distributed by British Lion Films
Release date
  • 18 December 1951 (1951-12-18)
Running time
93 minutes
Box office£70,197 (UK) [1]

Mr. Denning Drives North is a 1951 British mystery film directed by Anthony Kimmins and starring John Mills, Phyllis Calvert and Sam Wanamaker. [2] The plot concerns an aircraft manufacturer (Mills) who accidentally kills the boyfriend (Herbert Lom) of his daughter (Moore) and tries to dispose of the body. Alec Coppel wrote the script, adapted from his own 1950 novel of the same title. It was made at Shepperton Studios.



Aircraft manufacturer Tom Denning (John Mills) is married to Kay (Phyllis Calvert); they have a daughter, Liz (Eileen Moore). Liz is dating Mados (Herbert Lom) who Tom "accidentally" kills by punching him. Instead of calling the police, Tom disposes of the body in a ditch. He tries to disguise the victim by placing a large overly-ornate ring on the victim's finger. Later, torn with his guilt, he goes back to pick up the body only to find that it has disappeared.


Original novel

Mr Denning Drives North
Author Alec Coppel
CountryUnited Kingdom
Publication date

The film was based on a novel by Coppel that was published in late 1950. [3] [4] [5]

The Washington Post thought the Rolls-Royce "made more sense than any of the alleged human characters... a bit pretentious." [6]


Film rights were bought by Alexander Korda's London Films. [7] John Mills' casting was announced in May 1951. [8] It was Mills' first film in almost two years. [9]

At one stage Dane Clark and Pat Roc were reportedly going to support Mills. [10]

Sam Wanamaker had been living in England since 1949 and was offered the part after writing to his agent from holiday in France asking if any jobs were going. [11]


Box office

The film performed poorly at the British box office. [1]

Critical reception

The New York Times wrote, "this little melodrama serves as still another reminder, from a country that jolly well knows how to exercise it, that restraint can work minor wonders...Persuasive and tingling, minus one false note... No doubt about it. The British have what it takes." [12]

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  1. 1 2 Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p495
  2. "BFI | Film & TV Database | MR. DENNING DRIVES NORTH (1951)". 16 April 2009. Archived from the original on 13 January 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  3. "BOOKS RECEIVED". The Manchester Guardian. 7 December 1950. ProQuest   479141205.
  4. Mr Denning Drives North at AustLit
  5. "Latest Fiction". The Advertiser . Adelaide. 3 March 1951. p. 6. Retrieved 20 March 2014 via National Library of Australia.
  6. Sproul, K. (17 June 1951). "The coffin corner". The Washington Post. ProQuest   152365227.
  7. S. W. (18 November 1951). "NOTED ON THE LONDON SCREEN SCENE". New York Times. ProQuest   111773898.
  8. "Film news from Hollywood and London". The Sun . No. 12, 873 (LATE FINAL EXTRA ed.). Sydney. 3 May 1951. p. 40. Retrieved 3 September 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  9. "Australian Angles". The Sunday Herald . Sydney. 17 June 1951. p. 12. Retrieved 20 March 2014 via National Library of Australia.
  10. Schallert, Edwin (25 April 1951). "Drama: Milland, Brian, Carter in 'Bugles;' Nat Holt Buys Oceanic Subject". Los Angeles Times. p. A7.
  11. "Patricia returns". The Mail . Adelaide. 16 February 1952. p. 6 Supplement: SUNDAY MAGAZINE. Retrieved 20 March 2014 via National Library of Australia.
  12. H. H. T. (2 September 1953). "Movie Review – Mr Denning Drives North – A Cool, British Appraisal of Murder". New York Times. Retrieved 4 March 2014.