Mr. Denning Drives North

Mr. Denning Drives North is a 1951 British mystery film directed by Anthony Kimmins and starring John Mills, Phyllis Calvert and Sam Wanamaker.[2] The plot concerns an aircraft manufacturer (Mills) who accidentally kills the boyfriend (Herbert Lom) of his daughter (Moore) and tries to dispose of the body. Alec Coppel wrote the script, adapted from his own novel. It was made at Shepperton Studios.

Mr. Denning Drives North
UK theatrical poster
Directed byAnthony Kimmins
Produced byAnthony Kimmins
Stephen Mitchell
Written byAlec Coppel
Based onnovel by Alec Coppel
StarringJohn Mills
Phyllis Calvert
Herbert Lom
Eileen Moore
Music byBenjamin Frankel
CinematographyJohn Wilcox
Edited byGerald Turney-Smith
Distributed byBritish Lion Films
Release date
  • 18 December 1951 (1951-12-18)
Running time
93 minutes
Box office£70,197 (UK)[1]


Aircraft manufacturer Tom Denning is married to Kay; they have a daughter, Liz. Liz is dating Mados who Tom accidentally kills. Tom disposes of the body in a ditch.

Torn with guilt, he goes back to pick up the body only to find it has disappeared.


Original novel

Mr Denning Drives North
AuthorAlec Coppel
CountryUnited Kingdom
Publication date

The film was based on a novel by Coppel that was published in late 1950.[3][4][5]

The Washington Post thought the Rolls Royce "made more sense than any of the alleged human characters... a bit pretentious."[6]


Film rights were bought by Alexander Korda's London Films.[7] John Mills' casting was announced in May 1951.[8] It was Mills' first film in almost two years.[9]

At one stage Dane Clark and Pat Roc were reportedly going to support Mills.[10]

Sam Wanamaker had been living in England since 1949 and was offered the part after writing to his agent from holiday in France asking if any jobs were going.[11]


Box office

The film performed poorly at the British box office.[1]

Critical reception

The New York Times wrote, "this little melodrama serves as still another reminder, from a country that jolly well knows how to exercise it, that restraint can work minor wonders...Persuasive and tingling, minus one false note... No doubt about it. The British have what it takes."[12]


  1. Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p495
  2. "BFI | Film & TV Database | MR. DENNING DRIVES NORTH (1951)". 16 April 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  3. BOOKS RECEIVED. (1950, Dec 07). The Manchester Guardian (1901–1959) Retrieved from
  4. Mr Denning Drives North at AustLit
  5. "Latest Fiction". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 3 March 1951. p. 6. Retrieved 20 March 2014 via National Library of Australia.
  6. Sproul, K. (1951, Jun 17). The coffin corner. The Washington Post (1923–1954) Retrieved from
  7. By, S. W. (1951, Nov 18). NOTED ON THE LONDON SCREEN SCENE. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  8. "Film news from Hollywood and London". The Sun (12, 873). Sydney. 3 May 1951. p. 40 (LATE FINAL EXTRA). Retrieved 3 September 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  9. "Australian Angles". The Sunday Herald. Sydney. 17 June 1951. p. 12. Retrieved 20 March 2014 via National Library of Australia.
  10. Drama: Milland, Brian, Carter in 'Bugles;' Nat Holt Buys Oceanic Subject Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]25 Apr 1951: A7.
  11. "Patricia returns". The Mail. Adelaide. 16 February 1952. p. 6 Supplement: SUNDAY MAGAZINE. Retrieved 20 March 2014 via National Library of Australia.
  12. H. H. T. (2 September 1953). "Movie Review – Mr Denning Drives North – A Cool, British Appraisal of Murder". Retrieved 4 March 2014.
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