Now streaming on Amazon is “An Inspector Calls,” which is probably the most profound and emotional story I’ve seen in my life. Frankly, I never heard of it before. Written by J. B. Priestley, it was apparently a play first performed in Moscow in 1945 and then in the UK in 1946 and has been on stage multiple times. I guess according to Wikipedia, it’s hailed as a classic. Apparently, it’s been in film and television also throughout the years.
The story is set in 1912 and revolves around a rich cotton mill owner Mr. Birling. They are at home at dinner with his wife, son, daughter, and her fiance. After dinner, a gentleman arrives at the door and introduces himself as Inspector Goole from the police. He is led into the dining room where Mr. Birling and his son and Mr. Croft are talking, while the ladies are in the parlor.
It begins with him asking Mr. Birley if he recognizes a woman in a picture that he shows him, and he denies knowing her. When pressured why the questions, he states that she has committed suicide and he’s investigating the circumstances that lead up to her death. Naturally, Mr. Birley asks what does this have to do with us? Eventually, he confesses that she did work at his factory and the story begins.
Well, I cannot tell you the rest because it would ruin it for you. I think I gasped a few times, got overly emotional, felt my own shame at the end, and sat there dumbfounded after the show ended. So what’s it all about? Here’s a short quote that might give you a hint:
We don’t live alone upon this earth. We are responsible for each other. And if mankind will not learn that lesson then the time will come when he will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish.
You’ll discover, too, that Inspector Goole isn’t everything he appears to be.
I highly recommend it because he stabs the audience at the core. It’s also intertwined with the classes of society, how we deal with each other, and the outcome of our actions that can affect others.
It’s currently streaming on Amazon Prime for free.