The Arsenal Football Club is having a charity match against an amateur team called The Trojans. The match is being played at Arsenal Stadium in the Highbury district of London. At halftime the score is Arsenals one, Trojans zero.
In the audience are Gwen Lee (Greta Gynt) and her cousin Inga Larson (Liane Linden). Gwen is engaged to rich Trojan team member Phillip Morring (Brian Worth) but has been seeing one of the new Trojan team members, Jack Doyce (Anthony Bushell) on the side. Jack is a well known ladies man and all around louse. During halftime Jack receives a package. Inside is a diamond ring. He puts the ring in his jacket pocket and goes back on the field. During the second half of the match Jack falls. He is brought back to the locker rooms where he is pronounced dead.
Inspector Anthony Slade (Leslie Banks) is called in to investigate the death. The autopsy shows that Jack was poisoned. Slade hears about the package that Jack received during the halftime break. As of yet he doesn’t know what was in it. He also finds out that a woman showed up outside the locker room asking about Jack after he was taken off the field. In addition Slade learns that the same woman was seen coming out of Jack’s apartment later that day. The woman was Gwen and she snuck into Jack’s place to retrieve some love letters from his apartment.
Slade tracks Gwen down and also learns about Phil. Both Gwen and Phil become suspects. But when there is another murder Slade must look deeper into the lives of everyone concerned.
“The Arsenal Stadium Mystery” was released in 1939 and was directed by Thorold Dickinson. It is a British mystery film with comedy and is a British “Quota Quickie”. Filmed mostly on location at Arsenal Stadium, it is one of the first films where football, (Soccer in America), is a main plot point in the film. The movie was adapted from Leonard Gribble’s 1939 novel.
Unless you’re into late 30’s and early 40’s British football teams you may find the movie a little slow. The comedy aspects of the film are a little silly. Despite the slow start and the strange comedy the movie ended up far more interesting than I expected. Whatever you think of the movie you can be sure that the inspector has the right hat for it.
The Arsenal Football Club is an actual British football team. Several of the Arsenal players and some members of the staff had roles in the film. The team manager George Allison and team players Cliff Bastin and Eddie Hapgood appear as themselves in the movie. In addition sportscaster E.V.H. Emmett is also in the film. Emmett also narrates a fake Gaumont British newsreel that introduces the teams. Stock footage from actual Arsenal football games was also used. Members of the Brentford Football Club play some of the Trojan football players.