|MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD (director: Stuart Walker; screenwriters: from a Charles Dickens novel/ Leopold Atlas/ John L. Balderston/Gladys Unger/Bradley King; cinematographer: George Robinson; editor: Edward Curtiss; music: Edward Ward/Clifford Vaughan; cast: Claude Rains (John Jasper), David Manners (Edwin Drood), Douglass Montgomery (Neville Landless), Heather Angel (Rosa Bud), Valerie Hobson (Helena Landless), Francis L. Sullivan (Mr. Crisparkle), Walter Kingsford (Hiram Grewigious), E.E. Clive (Thomas Sapsea); Runtime: 87; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Carl Laemmle Jr.; Universal Pictures; 1935)|
|"Claude Rains gives
another one of his great performances,
brilliantly playing a vile character suspected
by Dennis Schwartz
suspense horror film that's slightly stilted, but
still entertaining. It's directed with an eerie
guile by former stage actor Stuart Walker ("Great
Expectations"/"Werewolf of London"/"White Woman"). A
team of writers mentioned above adapt it from an
unfinished novel by Charles Dickens. The
author died completing only half the novel. The
film's tacked on ending became a source of
controversy. Some critics even questioned if Dickens
intended a murder to be committed, like in the film.
Rains gives another one of his great
performances, brilliantly playing a vile character
suspected of murder.
English town of Chesterton, the opium addict cathedral
choirmaster, John Jasper (Claude Rains), who also
works in a finishing school, is cravenly jealous that
his nephew Edwin Drood (David Manners) is engaged to
the beautiful student Rosa Bud (Heather
Angel) he's obsessed with. A newcomer to
town, Neville Landless (Douglas Montgomery), also
falls in love with Rosa, and she seems smitten with
him. Without warning one day Edwin Drood disappears.
We wonder if he was murdered or maybe just went
missing. The creepy choirmaster is suspected of
murdering him, but no body is found and no evidence is
found to link him to a murder.
The Mystery of Edwin Drood came to Broadway as a musical in 1980s, and as a gimmick offered several alternate endings. It was refilmed in 1993.
REVIEWED ON 3/2/2015 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ