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Piccadilly Incident

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Piccadilly Incident
Directed byHerbert Wilcox
Written byNicholas Phipps
Based onan original story by Florence Tranter
Produced byHerbert Wilcox
StarringAnna Neagle
Michael Wilding
CinematographyMax Greene
Edited byFlora Newton
Music byAnthony Collins
Distributed byPathé Pictures Ltd (UK)
Release date
30 September 1946 (UK)
Running time
103 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£258,057 (UK)[1]

Piccadilly Incident is a 1946 British drama film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, Coral Browne, Edward Rigby and Leslie Dwyer.[2]

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During an air-raid on Piccadilly in World War II, Chief Wren Diana Fraser, who is on active duty with the Women's Royal Naval Service, meets Captain Alan Pearson, a Royal Marines officer on sick leave after the evacuation from Dunkirk. He invites her for a drink at his house. They dance and fall in love. Impulsively, he proposes to her and they marry.

Alan is posted to North Africa and Diana to Singapore. As Singapore falls to the Japanese, she is evacuated, but the ship in which she is travelling is attacked and she is presumed drowned. However, she and four other passengers survive, including Bill Weston, a Canadian sailor who loves her.

Two years later, they are rescued after their boat is spotted by an American aeroplane. Fraser returns home to find that her husband has remarried to an American Red Cross nurse, Joan, and they have a son. She is devastated and flees the house after meeting the wife.

Diana approaches Alan backstage at a Navy show. She pretends that the marriage meant little to her and that she has another man with whom she became involved when stranded on the island. The theatre is bombed; Alan is wounded but Diana dies in hospital. Before her death she confesses her lies and they both declare their love for each other. Later, a judge decides that Alan and Joan must remarry, but the son will be unable to inherit the family title.



Herbert Wilcox made the film as a follow-up to I Live in Grosvenor Square (1945). He hoped to use the same leads, Anna Neagle and Rex Harrison, but the success of Grosvenor Square saw Harrison offered a contract with 20th Century Fox. Wilcox offered the role to John Mills, who turned it down. He accepted Michael Wilding reluctantly at the suggestion of Wilding's agent, but once he saw Wilding and Neagle play their first scene together, he put Wilding under a personal long-term contract.[3]

Wilcox teamed his wife Anna Neagle with Michael Wilding for the first time, establishing them as top box-office stars in five more films, ending with The Lady with a Lamp (1951).[4] Wilding was third choice for leading man after Rex Harrison and John Mills.[5]


Box office

It was the second most popular film at the British box office in 1946, after The Wicked Lady.[6][7][8]

Critical Reception

Though The New York Times thought the film demonstrated "the British are quite as capable as the Americans of unconvincing direction, ill-considered writing and tedious acting", critic Godfrey Winn wrote "In Piccadilly Incident is born the greatest team in British Films".[9]

Leonard Maltin wrote "good British cast gives life to oft-filmed plot".[10]

Allmovie called the film "a weeper deluxe".[5]

The Radio Times concluded that the film "effectively opens the tear ducts".[4]

Leslie Halliwell said: "The Enoch Arden theme again, and the first of the Wilcox-Neagle 'London' films, though untypically a melodrama with a sad ending."[11]

In British Sound Films: The Studio Years 1928–1959 David Quinlan rated the film as "average", writing: "A big box-office hit, it established the stars as one of Britain's most potent post-war teams."[12]


It was voted the best British film of 1946 at Britain's National Film Awards.[13] Neagle's was voted Best Actress of the year by the readers of Picturegoer magazine.[14]


  1. ^ Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p483
  2. ^ "Piccadilly Incident". British Film Institute Collections Search. Retrieved 10 November 2023.
  3. ^ Wilcox, Herbert (1967). Twenty Five Thousand Sunsets. South Brunswick. p. 144.
  4. ^ a b "Piccadilly Incident - Film from RadioTimes".
  5. ^ a b "Piccadilly Incident (1948) - Herbert Wilcox - Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related - AllMovie".
  6. ^ "Personality Parade". The Mail. Adelaide. 25 January 1947. p. 9 Supplement: SUNDAY MAGAZINE. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  7. ^ Robert Murphy, Realism and Tinsel: Cinema and Society in Britain 1939-48 2003 p. 209
  8. ^ Thumim, Janet. "The popular cash and culture in the postwar British cinema industry". Screen. Vol. 32, no. 3. p. 258.
  9. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Piccadilly Incident (1946)".
  10. ^ "Piccadilly Incident (1946) - Overview -".
  11. ^ Halliwell, Leslie (1989). Halliwell's Film Guide (7th ed.). London: Paladin. p. 796. ISBN 0586088946.
  12. ^ Quinlan, David (1984). British Sound Films: The Studio Years 1928–1959. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd. p. 240. ISBN 0-7134-1874-5.
  13. ^ "BRITAIN'S FAVORITE STARS FOR 1946". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 14 April 1947. p. 3. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  14. ^ "ANNA NEAGLE GETS A TROPHY". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 5 September 1947. p. 25. Retrieved 10 July 2012.

External links

This page was last edited on 27 November 2023, at 13:38
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