Derby Day (1952 film)

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 had opposite each other, but it failed in this regard.[2] In an effort to promote the film Wilcox arranged for Neagle to launch the film at the 1952 Epsom Derby.[3] In the United States it was released as Four against Fate.

Derby Day
Directed byHerbert Wilcox
Produced byMaurice Cowan
Hebert Wilcox
Written byArthur Austen
John Baines
Monckton Hoffe
Alan Melville
StarringAnna Neagle
Michael Wilding
Googie Withers
John McCallum
Peter Graves
Suzanne Cloutier
Gordon Harker
Narrated byRaymond Glendenning
Music byAnthony Collins
CinematographyMutz Greenbaum
Edited byBill Lewthwaite
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]

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


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. Meanwhile, as part of a charity raffle, a dissolute film star, Gerald Berkeley, is to escort a wealthy grand dame to Epsom for the day something he is equally reluctant about. She falls and injures her leg, and her crafty housekeeper arranges for one of the young maids to go in her place. Meanwhile, in Hackney, a lodger kills a man whose wife he is having an affair with. They plan to flee the country, and also head to Epsom where he knows a tipster who can smuggle them out. The race featured is actually the Derby of 1949, won by NIMBUS at 7/1.



  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.
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