VCI Home Video // 1939 // 82 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart (Retired) // September 16th, 2012
"To lose their crack inside right at a time like this is appalling luck."
For the Trojans' crack-inside-right to end up dead is worse than appalling luck, since it brings Scotland Yard Inspector Slade (Leslie Banks, Jamaica Inn) to Arsenal Stadium. Slade's more worried about an upcoming police concert, wears funny hats (including a deerstalker and a fez), has a scary lack of concern around chemicals, and (like many a fictional sleuths) needs a second murder to focus his mind. Still, he's assigned to solve The Arsenal Stadium Mystery.
Slade, who hails from the pen of Leonard Reginald Gribble, seems like a big joke to me. Then again, that's after years of having watched tongue-in-cheek detecting from both sides of the pond that poked fun at stuff like this. In 1939, they might have been taking this more seriously. I hope not, but I suspect it.
Anyway, getting back to the actual plot, the afore-mentioned crack-inside-right was poisoned on the field during a football game (soccer in the States) between the Arsenal professionals and the Trojan amateurs. It seems to have something to do with a mystery blonde (Greta Gynt, Forbidden Cargo).
In the radio days of 1939, the football footage shot with actual participation of the Arsenal club might have been a draw. The black-and-white film holds up well seventy-five years later, and it helps that the filmmakers used actual newsreel commentator E.V.H. Emmett (Carry on Cleo). It's a hokey mystery, but the football looks and sounds authentic enough.
Essentially, Arsenal Stadium Mystery gives viewers an intriguing hook, an oddball detective, and actual 1930s soccer footage. That's not horrible, but it's something you can get on television all the time.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: VCI Home Video
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 82 Minutes
Release Year: 1939
MPAA Rating: Not Rated