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Murder by Television (1935)

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Ratings: 4.4/10 from 366 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 6 critic

James Houghland, inventor of a new method by which television signals can be instantaneously sent anywhere in the world, refuses to sell the process to television companies, who then send ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (idea), 1 more credit »
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Title: Murder by Television (1935)

Murder by Television (1935) on IMDb 4.4/10

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Complete credited cast:
Dr. Arthur Perry / Edwin Perry
June Collyer ...
Huntley Gordon ...
Dr. Henry M. Scofield (as Huntly Gordon)
George Meeker ...
Henry Mowbray ...
Chief of Police Nelson
Charles Hill Mailes ...
Prof. James Houghland
Claire McDowell ...
Mrs. Houghland
Isabella - the Cook
Allen Jung ...
Ah Ling - the Houseboy (as Allan Jung)
Charles K. French ...
Donald M. Jordan
Larry Francis ...
Henry Hall ...
Billy Sullivan ...
Reardon the Watchman (as William 'Billy' Sullivan)
William H. Tooker ...
Allen (as William Tooker)


James Houghland, inventor of a new method by which television signals can be instantaneously sent anywhere in the world, refuses to sell the process to television companies, who then send agents to acquire the invention any way they can. On the night of his initial broadcast Houghland is mysteriously murdered in the middle of his demonstration and it falls to Police Chief Nelson to determine who the murderer is from the many suspects present. Written by Doug Sederberg <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


An IMPERIAL-CAMEO PRODUCTION (original poster) See more »


Mystery | Thriller


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 October 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Houghland Murder Case  »

Box Office


$35,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


For the scenes showing television equipment, the filmmakers borrowed it from L.A.-area researchers who were working on experimental TV. The equipment they borrowed was worth $75,000 - over twice the $35,000 production budget for the film. See more »


When Isabella (the cook) finds the body at the top of the stairs, she simply disappears into thin air. (This may be due to missing footage in the extant print, rather than an error by the original filmmakers.) See more »


[first lines]
Hammond: Have you been holding that wire to the coast open?
See more »


Featured in Rumble Fish (1983) See more »


I Had the Right Idea
Music and Lyrics by Oliver Wallace
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Has a Couple of Good Points, But Only Fair Overall
31 August 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

Although the crime feature "Murder By Television" has a couple of good points, it is really only fair (at best) overall. Bela Lugosi makes the best of a somewhat atypical role for him, and at times the thoughts and speculations about early television are of some interest. Otherwise, the production, the characters, and most of the cast are all nondescript. The story just never fits together very well, and it also never really hits full gear.

Lugosi plays the assistant to an inventor who is supposed to have pioneered a form of early television that is full of valuable possibilities. The invention is coveted by a number of outside interests, and the murder mystery that results is caught up with the intrigue surrounding the invention. It sounds like an intriguing setup, and it could have been, but the script doesn't make very good use of it. Both the dialogue and the story could easily have been much better.

Lugosi adds presence to any role, and his is easily the most interesting of the characters for that reason, but he is still limited by the material. Besides Lugosi, the most talented performer in the cast is Hattie McDaniel, and she also is severely limited by her character, who is there only to provide some slight comic relief, which comes at the unfortunate character's expense.

This won't have any appeal at all for anyone who is not a fan of its genre, and even for those of us who usually enjoy these old B-features regardless of their quality, it is, unfortunately, only barely worth watching.

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