Mystery of Edwin Drood (1935)

85 or 87 mins | Romance, Mystery | 4 February 1935

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HISTORY

The title card for this film reads, "Charles Dickens' Mystery of Edwin Drood ." The screenwriters provided an ending to Dickens' novel, which he left unfinished upon his death. The Var review points out that Dickens scholars, led by Stephen Leacock, took exception with the ending of the film because Dickens at one time considered titling his novel The Flight of Edwin Drood or Edwin Drood in Hiding , which suggests that he intended Edwin Drood to return at the end of the story. Var also points out that the film ignores the character of Lieutenant Tartar, whom, Var states, Dickens "doubtless intended [Rosa] should wed." Onscreen credits erroneously spell actress Veda Buckland's name "Vera." Many reviews state that the film fits the genre of horror more than ... More Less

The title card for this film reads, "Charles Dickens' Mystery of Edwin Drood ." The screenwriters provided an ending to Dickens' novel, which he left unfinished upon his death. The Var review points out that Dickens scholars, led by Stephen Leacock, took exception with the ending of the film because Dickens at one time considered titling his novel The Flight of Edwin Drood or Edwin Drood in Hiding , which suggests that he intended Edwin Drood to return at the end of the story. Var also points out that the film ignores the character of Lieutenant Tartar, whom, Var states, Dickens "doubtless intended [Rosa] should wed." Onscreen credits erroneously spell actress Veda Buckland's name "Vera." Many reviews state that the film fits the genre of horror more than mystery. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
1 Nov 34
p. 2.
Daily Variety
12 Nov 34
p. 3.
Daily Variety
19 Dec 34
p. 8.
Daily Variety
17 Jan 35
p. 3.
Film Daily
20 Mar 35
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jan 35
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Mar 35
p. 2.
Motion Picture Daily
19 Jan 35
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
15 Dec 34
p. 49.
Motion Picture Herald
30 Mar 35
p. 40.
New York Times
21 Mar 35
p. 27.
Variety
27 Mar 35
p. 31.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Carl Laemmle, President
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec eng
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Scr clerk
Secy to prod
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the unfinished novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens (London, 1870).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Charles Dickens' Mystery of Edwin Drood
Release Date:
4 February 1935
Production Date:
12 Nov--17 Dec 1934
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
5 February 1935
Copyright Number:
LP5305
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
85 or 87
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

John Jasper, a respected choirmaster in the Church of England in Cloisteram in 1864, goes to London twice a week, using the name Orrich, for opium "treatments," during which he dreams of marrying Rosa Bud, his music student. Rosa, however, has been engaged to Jasper's nephew, Edwin Drood, called Ned, since her mother died when she was a little girl. On Rosa's eighteenth birthday, Ned, now twenty-one, asks her to go with him to Egypt as his wife, and she kindly admits she has no more feeling for him than for the girls at Miss Twinkleton's seminary, where she lives. The benevolent schoolmaster, Crisparkle, then holds a dinner party to welcome his new student, Neville Landless, and his sister Helena, who will room with Rosa. The Landlesses are orphans from Ceylon. Neville immediately falls in love with Rosa, but is prone to drinking and has a volatile temper. When Ned mocks Neville for his serious intentions toward Rosa, Neville nearly accosts him with a knife. Rumor that Neville has a violent, foreigner's temper quickly spreads around Cloisteram. Rosa, however, forgives Neville when he tells her about the fight. Rosa's kind guardian, Hiram Grewgious, then gives Ned Rosa's mother's ring, with her instructions that it is to be given to Rosa only if he truly loves her. In order to be true to her mother's memory, Ned breaks the engagement and tells Rosa that Neville loves her. Jasper, still believing the couple is going to marry, goes to the cemetery with the drunken caretaker, Durdles, and mysteriously spends hours in the crypts while Durdles sleeps. On Christmas Eve, during a ... +


John Jasper, a respected choirmaster in the Church of England in Cloisteram in 1864, goes to London twice a week, using the name Orrich, for opium "treatments," during which he dreams of marrying Rosa Bud, his music student. Rosa, however, has been engaged to Jasper's nephew, Edwin Drood, called Ned, since her mother died when she was a little girl. On Rosa's eighteenth birthday, Ned, now twenty-one, asks her to go with him to Egypt as his wife, and she kindly admits she has no more feeling for him than for the girls at Miss Twinkleton's seminary, where she lives. The benevolent schoolmaster, Crisparkle, then holds a dinner party to welcome his new student, Neville Landless, and his sister Helena, who will room with Rosa. The Landlesses are orphans from Ceylon. Neville immediately falls in love with Rosa, but is prone to drinking and has a volatile temper. When Ned mocks Neville for his serious intentions toward Rosa, Neville nearly accosts him with a knife. Rumor that Neville has a violent, foreigner's temper quickly spreads around Cloisteram. Rosa, however, forgives Neville when he tells her about the fight. Rosa's kind guardian, Hiram Grewgious, then gives Ned Rosa's mother's ring, with her instructions that it is to be given to Rosa only if he truly loves her. In order to be true to her mother's memory, Ned breaks the engagement and tells Rosa that Neville loves her. Jasper, still believing the couple is going to marry, goes to the cemetery with the drunken caretaker, Durdles, and mysteriously spends hours in the crypts while Durdles sleeps. On Christmas Eve, during a terrible storm, Jasper has Ned and Neville over for a reconciliation dinner. The next morning, Jasper tells Mayor Thomas Sapsea that Ned is missing and accuses Neville, who was last seen with him, of murder. Crisparkle vouches for Neville before the court and he is released. Neville last saw Ned at the river, and insists on helping the men search it. When Ned's watch is found, Jasper pronounces his nephew dead. Grewgious later informs Jasper that Ned and Rosa broke their engagement and Jasper collapses. Then he posts a two-hundred pound reward for information leading to the murderer of Ned. Jasper begs Rosa for her love in exchange for Neville's life. In terror, Rosa warns Neville and swears her love, finally revealing that her engagement to Ned was broken before his disappearance. Neville disappears himself and, disguised as Thackeray, an old man, takes a room at Mrs. Tope's home next door to Jasper. With Grewgious' help, he discovers Jasper's drug paraphernalia and the wax mold to a tomb key. Meanwhile, Jasper is receiving "treatments" from an opium woman. In his dream state, he shouts to Ned and Rosa and nearly chokes the woman. While looking for Mr. Orrich the night of Ned's murder, the woman, a stranger to Ned, had warned him that "Ned" was a cursed name. When the woman returns to Cloisteram to indict Orrich and collect Jasper's reward, Neville, still in disguise as Thackeray, tells her Jasper and Orrich are the same man and has her wait at Mrs. Tope's. Neville returns with Sapsea, and they find the woman dead. Deputy, a young friend of Durdles who customarily walks him home, accuses Jasper of killing the woman, because Jasper was mean to him the night he went to the crypts. Deputy then leads Neville to Durdles, where Jasper's night at the crypts is revealed. That night, Neville finds Ned's tomb and is about to open it when Jasper arrives. Revealing himself, Neville fights Jasper until Durdles returns with the authorities. When they open the tomb, they find the corpse unidentifiable, but after Grewgious spots Rosa's engagement ring in the coffin, the body is identified as Ned's. Durdles accuses Jasper of murder, and he escapes to the belfry, where, shouting Ned and Rosa's names, he jumps to his death. Neville and Rosa then marry. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.