The Arsenal Stadium Mystery

The Arsenal Stadium Mystery is a 1939 British mystery film, and is one of the first feature films where football is a central element in the plot.

The film is a murder mystery set, as the title suggests, at the Arsenal Stadium, Highbury, London, then the home of Arsenal Football Club, who were at the time the dominant team in English football. The backdrop is a friendly match between Arsenal and The Trojans, a fictitious amateur side; one of the Trojans' players drops dead during the match, and when it is revealed he has been poisoned, suspicion falls on his teammates as well as his former mistress. Detective Inspector Slade (Leslie Banks) is called in to solve the crime.

The film stars several Arsenal players and staff (such as Cliff Bastin and Eddie Hapgood), although only manager George Allison has a speaking part. The Trojans' body doubles on the pitch were players from Brentford, during the First Division fixture between the two sides on 6 May 1939; this was the last match of the 1938–39 season and Arsenal's last official league fixture before the outbreak of the Second World War.

It is often said that the Brentford players wore a special striped kit for the occasion, but all of the actual match footage shows Arsenal's opponents to be wearing plain white shirts.

The film was directed by Thorold Dickinson, and shot at Denham Film Studios and on location at Arsenal Stadium. It was written by Dickinson, Donald Bull and Alan Hyman, adapted from a novel by Leonard Gribble.

Dickinson planned a follow-up, The Denham Studio Mystery, which was intended to incorporate footage from the abortive film of I Claudius, but this fell through.

Read more about The Arsenal Stadium Mystery:  Cast

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