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Policeman's Holiday

A car chase through London's Soho district makes this post-war dramatised documentary the rival of any detective movie.

Documentary 1949 19 mins


A murder, an investigation, and a high-speed pursuit: this dramatised documentary brings a touch of American noir to the mean streets of post-war London, where crime was on the up. The viewer gets a splendid tour of the city as it looked in the 1940s: a murder committed in Limehouse leads detectives to the old Middlesex Hospital, to Lambeth and Soho, and finally to the tunnels of the Piccadilly Line.

March of Time films were known for their artistic license, using re-enactments or generic library shots to illustrate a point or just add excitement. In this late example, more or less the whole film is an invented drama played out by actors - providing insight into the life of a crime fighter, from learning the ropes at the Metropolitan Police Training School at Hendon to the real work at Scotland Yard. It's certainly watchable, but only two years after this was broadcast, the March of Time series was wound up.