The Four Just Men (1939 film)

The Four Just Men, also known as The Secret Four, is a 1939 British thriller film directed by Walter Forde and starring Hugh Sinclair, Griffith Jones, Edward Chapman and Frank Lawton.[1] It is based on the 1905 novel The Four Just Men by Edgar Wallace. There was a previous silent film version in 1921.[2] This version was produced by Ealing Studios,[3] with sets designed by Wilfred Shingleton.

The Four Just Men
"The Four Just Men" (1939).jpg
Original Australian trade ad
Directed byWalter Forde
Written by
Produced byMichael Balcon
CinematographyRonald Neame
Edited by
Music byErnest Irving
Distributed by
Release date
June 1939
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Four Just Men was re-released in 1944 with an updated ending featuring newsreel of Winston Churchill and the Allied war effort as a fulfilment of the ideals of the Four. The adviser on the House of Commons of the United Kingdom scenes was Aneurin Bevan.[4]


The Four Men are British World War I veterans who unite to work in secret against enemies of the country. They aren't above a spot of murder or sabotage to achieve their ends, but they consider themselves true patriots.


Critical receptionEdit

The New York Times reviewer wrote, "Four Just Men, by Edgar Wallace, whatever it might have been, was probably not a work of literature, and therefore, on that charitable assumption, it is gently, rather than harshly, that one must deal with the British-made screen version, now on view at the Globe Theatre. Like all pictures seeping over from England nowadays, it is more than a little infected with the virus propagandistus, but, over and above that common-carrier failing, it is a model of sheer incredibility crossed with what (carrying out the charity idea) we might designate as espionage melodrama".[5] According to a writer for the Radio Times decades later "it defiantly suggests that Britain could never fall under the sway of a dictator. But in all other respects it's a rollicking boys' own adventure, with some of the most fiendishly comic-book murders you will ever see... hugely entertaining sub-Hitchcockian antics".[6]


  1. ^ "The Four Just Men". BFI. Archived from the original on 13 January 2009.
  2. ^ "The Four Just Men". BFI. Archived from the original on 14 July 2012.
  3. ^ Wood p. 100
  4. ^ "The Four Just Men".
  5. ^ "Movie Review - The Four Just Men - THE SCREEN; Two Spy Melodramas, 'The Secret Four' at Globe and 'Enemy Agent' at the Rialto, Are Seen Here -".
  6. ^ David Parkinson. "The Four Just Men". RadioTimes.


  • Low, Rachael. Filmmaking in 1930s Britain. George Allen & Unwin, 1985.
  • Perry, George. Forever Ealing. Pavilion Books, 1994.
  • Wood, Linda. British Films, 1927-1939. British Film Institute, 1986.

External linksEdit