Today, while women still struggle to experience a level playing with men when it comes to filmmaking, it was rare to see anyone but a white man behind the camera in post-war Britain. Indeed, along with Muriel Box, Wendy Toye was one of the only pioneering female directors during the 1950s and 1960s. She started out as a dancer, choreographer and actress before moving behind the scenes in stage, film and TV. The Teckman Mystery is one of her best films.
Philip Chance (John Justin) is a fiction writer by trade and is less than enthusiastic when his publisher (Raymond Huntley) commissions him to write a biography. The subject is a Martin Teckman (Michael Medwin), a young airman who crashed and died while test-piloting an experimental plane. After a chance meeting with the deceased’s sister (Margaret Leighton), he changes his mind, but it soon becomes apparent that something untoward is going on.
While you’ll have to suspend your disbelief a little, The Teckman Mystery is an entertaining and lively espionage drama. There a twist and turn around every corner and Toye keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat. While Justin might be the focal point, it’s Leighton who is the real star here. She steals every scene. Helen is not quite as innocent as she looks. The Teckman Mystery will keep you guessing until the very end.
- The Extraordinary Career of Wendy Toye Pt 1, featuring interviews with Film Historian Dr. Josephine Botting and Film Critic Pamela Hutchinson
- Rarely-seen Cannes prize-winning short film The Stranger Left No Card (1952)
- Christmas-themed short film On The Twelfth Day… (1955)
The Teckman Mystery is released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital by Studiocanal as part of their Vintage Classics collection on 21 November.