Gideon of Scotland Yard (aka Gideon’s Day) (1958): John Ford’s Police Procedural Starring

John Ford directed Gideon’s Day (released in the U.S. as Gideon of Scotland Yard), a police procedural starring Jack Hawkins, Dianne Foster and Cyril Cusack, adapted from John Creasey’s novel of the same name.

Gideon’s Day
Gideon's Day FilmPoster.jpeg

US film poster with the US title

Jack Hawkins had already played very similar role in the British film “The Long Arm,” two years earlier.

This was the film debut of Anna Massey, who was 19 at the time, and would become internationally renowned after appearing in Hitchcock’s 1972 “Frenzy.”

The tale describes one “typical” day in the life of Detective Chief Inspector George Gideon (Hawkins) of the Metropolitan Police. It starts when he received information that a corrupt officer has been taking bribes. Despite hectic schedule, his wife (Anna Lee) reminds him of his daughter (Anna Massey) violin recital, and of her aunt and uncle visit for tea before the concert.

Motif: This becomes a recurring theme throughout, as Gideon is continuously interrupted and hampered in his efforts to finish his work and return home to relax.

On the way to Scotland Yard he drops his daughter off at the Royal College of Music, but is stopped by young constable for running a red light.

Once at his office, he calls in the detective whom a “snout”  (informant) has told him is taking bribes and suspends him. Gideon then gets word that an escaped mental patient from Manchester is on his way to London.

The patient is arrested, but not before he has killed the daughter of his former landlady. Gideon wants to congratulate personally the policeman, only to discover it’s the same overzealous officer who gave him a summons for his morning traffic offence.

Various jobs preoccupy the chief inspector while his detectives continue to investigate the bribery. News arrives that the suspended cop has been run down by a car. After Gideon visits the dead officer’s wife, evidence links the dead detective to a woman who went to his favorite clubs.

Gideon discovers that the woman’s husband was responsible for the robberies–he needed the financial means to become painter. The husband then tricks his wife into holding a gun on Gideon while he escapes. The detective uses his calm manner to defuse the situation, but before returning home, the phone rings again. A safety deposit firm has been robbed by a gang of rich socialites. When the police finally draw them out, Gideon catches the gang himself. But he loses his temper when told that the elderly watchman was killed by the man he arrested.

When Gideon gets home, his wife tells him that their daughter has met a young man at her recital–it’s the young constable again. He had been holding the chief inspector’s concert ticket all day after their first encounter, which led him to meet Gideon’s daughter, But finally, just as they sit down to supper, the phone rings: A man believed to be Paul the Painter has been arrested at London Airport.

The film concludes ironically (and symmetrically to the start), when the constable, driving Gideon to the airport, is stopped by another cop for running a red light as he races through the foggy streets.

Jack Hawkins – DCI George Gideon
Dianne Foster – Joanna Delafield
Cyril Cusack – Herbert ‘Birdie’ Sparrow
Maureen Potter – Mrs Sparrow
Andrew Ray – PC Simon Farnaby-Green
Anna Massey – Sally Gideon
James Hayter – Robert Mason
Ronald Howard – Paul Delafield
Howard Marion-Crawford – The Chief
Laurence Naismith – Arthur Sayer
Derek Bond – Detective Sergeant Kirby
Anna Lee – Kate Gideon
John Loder – Ponsford
Miles Malleson – Judge

Directed by John Ford
Produced by Michael Killanin
Screenplay by T. E. B. Clarke, based on Gideon’s Day by John Creasey
Music by Douglas Gamley
Cinematography Freddie Young
Edited by Raymond Poulton
Distributed by Columbia Productions

Release date: March 25, 1958

Running time: 91 minutes


TCM showed the movie on July 17, 2020.