Emil and the Detectives (1964 film)

Emil and the Detectives is a 1964 film directed by Peter Tewksbury based on the novel Emil and the Detectives by German author Erich Kästner. The film stars Walter Slezak and Bryan Russell.[2]

Emil and the Detectives
Emil and the Detectives Film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Tewksbury
Produced byJohn McKimson
Walt Disney
Written byErich Kästner
Based onEmil and the Detectives
by Erich Kästner
StarringWalter Slezak
Bryan Russell
Roger Mobley
Edited byThomas Stanford
Distributed byBuena Vista Distribution
Release date
‹See TfM›
  • December 18, 1964 (1964-12-18)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,275,000[1]

It was shot at the Tempelhof Studios in Berlin and on location around the city. The sets were designed by the art directors Isabella and Werner Schlichting.


Ten-year old Emil Tischbein travels by bus from Neustadt to Berlin, carrying an envelope containing 400 marks that his mother has entrusted him to deliver to his grandmother. Emil falls asleep during the bus ride and wakes up to find the money gone. He is sure that the thief is Grundeis, the shifty man who was sitting next to him. Emil follows Grundeis to a Berlin cafe and summons a policeman, but Grundeis escapes to a rendezvous with The Baron, his underworld associate. Emil enlists the help of a group of child "detectives" led by the street urchin Gustav, and together they track down Grundeis and overhear him plotting with The Baron and his accomplice Müller to rob a large Berlin bank by tunneling to its vault. Emil is captured and forced to assist in the criminal plot. After the bank vault is blown open, Grundeis is doublecrossed by The Baron and Müller and left behind with Emil in the tunnel to be blown up by a dynamite fuse, but Gustav arrives in time to save them. The child detectives pursue the thieves and alert more children in the neighborhood who also give chase. The Baron and Muller are surrounded by the children and arrested by the police. Emil receives a reward which he intends to share with the other children.



Eugene Archer of The New York Times wrote that "Walt Disney has come up with one of his best children's pictures," stating that Tewksbury's direction "makes all the difference. He has kept the kiddies from gushing too coyly, suppressed the mugging of a comic trio of thieves, photographed the fresh Berlin setting in effective color, and juxtaposed suspense and wit with a nice, bouncing pace."[3] Variety called the film "an interesting project" with "the customary distinguishable Disney mark to give it class," but without the same appeal to adults as "say, Disney's previous moppet classic, 'Mary Poppins.'"[4] Philip K. Scheuer of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the film "falls somewhere between the moppet trade and not-too-discriminating adults."[5] The Monthly Film Bulletin found it "pleasantly presented, if without any distinction."[6]

Comic book adaptionEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Anticipated rentals accruing distributors in North America. See "Top Grossers of 1965", Variety, 5 January 1966 p 36
  2. ^ "Emil and the Detectives - Cast, Reviews, Summary, and Awards". AllMovie. Retrieved 2012-03-31.
  3. ^ Archer, Eugene (December 24, 1964). "Emil and Detectives". The New York Times. 8.
  4. ^ "Film Review: Emil and the Detectives". Variety. October 14, 1964. 6.
  5. ^ Scheuer, Philip K. (December 21, 1964). "Emil and the Detectives". Los Angeles Times'. Part III, p. 11.
  6. ^ "Emil and the Detectives". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 33 (385): 23. February 1966.
  7. ^ "Gold Key: Emil and the Detectives". Grand Comics Database.

External linksEdit