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Derby Day (1952 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Derby Day
Directed byHerbert Wilcox
Written byArthur Austen
John Baines
Monckton Hoffe
Alan Melville
Produced byMaurice Cowan
Hebert Wilcox
StarringAnna Neagle
Michael Wilding
Googie Withers
John McCallum
Peter Graves
Suzanne Cloutier
Gordon Harker
Narrated byRaymond Glendenning
CinematographyMutz Greenbaum
Edited byBill Lewthwaite
Music byAnthony Collins
Distributed byBritish Lion Film Corporation
Release date
9 May 1952 (1952-05-09)
Running time
84 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£150,010 (UK)[1]

Derby Day is a 1952 British drama film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, Googie Withers, John McCallum, Peter Graves, Suzanne Cloutier and Gordon Harker. An ensemble piece, it portrays several characters on their way to the Derby Day races at Epsom Downs Racecourse. It was an attempt to revive the success that Neagle and Wilding had previously enjoyed on screen together.[2] To promote the film, Wilcox arranged for Neagle to launch the film at the 1952 Epsom Derby.[3] In the United States, the film was released as Four Against Fate.

While making the film, Wilding began dating Elizabeth Taylor, who was in London filming Ivanhoe, and later became her second husband.[4]

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On the morning of the Epsom Derby, a disparate group of people prepare to go to the races. Lady Helen Forbes, a recently widowed aristocrat, is planning to make the journey in spite of the disapproval of her social set who consider it unseemly to go while still in mourning. David Scott, a newspaper cartoonist, is ordered to go by his editor against his wishes. As part of a charity raffle, dissolute film star Gerald Berkeley must reluctantly escort a wealthy grand dame to Epsom. When the woman falls and injures her leg, her crafty housekeeper arranges for one of the young French maids to go in her place.

In Hackney, a lodger kills a man whose wife he has been having an affair with. The lodger and the wife plan to flee the country and travel to Epsom, where he knows a tipster who may be able to smuggle them out.

Helen and David meet and find themselves sharing confidences, as they were both bereaved in the same air crash. It seems likely that they will meet again. The lodger and the wife are spotted and arrested. A taxi driver's wife fulfils her life ambition to see the races.


See also


  1. ^ Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p498
  2. ^ Mayer p.385
  3. ^ Harper & Porter p.156
  4. ^ Walker p.131-133


  • Harper, Sue & Porter, Vincent. British Cinema of the 1950s: The Decline of Deference. Oxford University Press, 2007.
  • Mayer, Geoff. Guide to British cinema. Greenwood Publishing, 2003.
  • Walker, Alexander. Elizabeth. Orion, 1997.

External links

This page was last edited on 27 November 2023, at 13:40
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