Mystery of Edwin Drood

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Director: Stuart Walker, Claude Rains, Douglass Montgomery, Heather Angel

Cast: Stuart Walker, Claude Rains, Douglass Montgomery, Heather Angel

     
 
Charles Dickens' unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, has been a source of speculation and controversy ever since its posthumous publication. Even so, the ending concocted by scenarists John Balderston and Gladys Unger for the 1935 film version of Edwin Drood met with near-unanimous approval from Dickens buffs, who felt that Balderston and Unger had

Overview

Charles Dickens' unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, has been a source of speculation and controversy ever since its posthumous publication. Even so, the ending concocted by scenarists John Balderston and Gladys Unger for the 1935 film version of Edwin Drood met with near-unanimous approval from Dickens buffs, who felt that Balderston and Unger had remained faithful to the author's original intention. Claude Rains stars as John Jasper, the seemingly respectable choirmaster of Cloisterham Cathedral. What no one suspects is that Jasper is an opium addict, given to fits of paranoia and jealousy. Pushing him over the edge is the fact that his beautiful ward, Rosa Bud (Heather Angel), has fallen in love with handsome Edwin Drood (David Manners). That Drood is murdered by Jasper is made abundantly clear: it is the mystery of how he was murdered and how Jasper disposed of the body that holds the viewer's interest. The film's relatively short running time required the screenwriters to drop several of Dickens' more colorful supporting characters: of those retained, Francis L. Sullivan is a standout as Mr. Crisparkle. The Mystery of Edwin Drood was transformed into a Broadway musical in 1980s (which offered several alternate endings), then was refilmed in 1993.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
We will never really know whom Charles Dickens intended to be the murderer in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, but viewers will have no trouble guessing -- rather all too quickly -- whom the guilty party is in this adaptation of the unfinished Dickens novel. That fact is rather emblematic of other problems with the film's screenplay, which is too often predictable and too seldom surprising. That said, the writers have done a respectable job of transferring the novel's characters to the screen, as well as molding Dickens' sometimes-pagebound dialogue into atmospheric but acceptable screen dialogue. Stuart Walker has directly efficiently and with a touch of flair here and there; it's not outstanding work, but it more than does the job. But where Drood shines is in its cast, led by a typically marvelous Claude Rains, who conveys the lust, shame, desperation, and determination of his character with aplomb. Douglass Montgomery is quite good in a dual role, and Heather Angel is appropriately lovely and timid. E.E. Clive and Zeffie Tilbury also are impressive in supporting roles; one wishes the former had been given more screen time, as his character has been a bit too simplified for the screen. The Mystery of Edwin Drood may not be a great film, but the actors make it decent entertainment.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/17/2015
UPC:
0025192143052
Original Release:
1935
Source:
Universal Mod
Time:
1:27:00
Sales rank:
14,361

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Claude Rains John Jasper
Douglass Montgomery Neville Landless
Heather Angel Rosa Bud
David Manners Edwin Drood
Valerie Hobson Helena Landless
Francis L. Sullivan Rev. Mr. Septimus Crisparkle
Walter Kingsford Hiram Grewigious
E.E. Clive Thomas Sapsea
Veda Buckland Tope
Forrester Harvey Durdles
Louise Carter Mrs. Crisparkle
Ethel Griffies Miss Twinkleton
George Ernest Deputy
Zeffie Tilbury Opium Den Hog
Elsa Buchanan Mrs. Tisher
Harry Cording Actor
D'Arcy Corrigan Opium Addict
Will Geer Villager
J.M. Kerrigan Chief Verger Tope
Anne O'Neal Crisparkle Maid

Technical Credits
Stuart Walker Director
Leopold Atlas Screenwriter
John L. Balderston Screenwriter
Edward A. Curtiss Editor
Albert S. D'Agostino Art Director
John P. Fulton Special Effects
Edmund Grainger Producer
Bradley King Screenwriter
George Robinson Cinematographer
Gladys Unger Screenwriter
Edward Ward Score Composer

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