R.C.M.P. File 1365 – The Connors Case
Runtime: 36 min
National Film Board of Canada
This dramatization of the real-life murder of a salesman from Regina shows the methods used by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to catch the criminal.
Salesman Walter Connors (Red Roberts) leaves a restaurant carrying a large amount of money and agrees to give a young man (Richard Hunter) a ride. When Connors fails to come home, his wife (Christine Dreever) calls the RCMP. After finding Connors’s car in Winnipeg – with a bullet hole and blood in it – the police use straw found in the car to lead them to the body and match fingerprints in the car to those of a known criminal, William Fenn. A search begins, first in Montreal, then in Toronto, and police discover Fenn has left on a ship. When a patrol boat pursues the ship it is learned that Fenn was put ashore in Halifax, where police finally trap him in a warehouse.
This docudrama had a very successful theatrical release. Its style is characteristic of several social dramas produced by the NFB in the postwar years: an elaborate visual style, an appeal to an almost documentary-like significance, and its use of non-professional actors and of locations rather than studio sets.
Though the film is ostensibly a tribute to the RCMP, it was produced at a time when NFB employees were under investigation by the RCMP as potential subversives, and contains several elements that can be read as critical of the police, such as the depiction of the plainclothes policemen in Montreal (who have the air of SS officers) and the jack-booted Mountie at the end.