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Murder by Television (1935)

Approved | | Mystery, Thriller | 1 October 1935 (USA)
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 »

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(screenplay), (idea) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Dr. Arthur Perry / Edwin Perry
...
...
Dr. Henry M. Scofield (as Huntly Gordon)
...
Henry Mowbray ...
Nelson - Chief of Police
...
Prof. James Houghland
...
Mrs. Houghland
...
Isabella - the Cook
...
Ah Ling - the Houseboy (as Allan Jung)
...
Donald M. Jordan
Larry Francis ...
Mendoza
...
Hammond
Billy Sullivan ...
Reardon - Watchman (as William 'Billy' Sullivan)
William H. Tooker ...
Allen (as William Tooker)
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Storyline

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 <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A STORY OF A PERFECT CRIME (original poster) See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 October 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Houghland Murder Case  »

Box Office

Budget:

$35,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

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

Connections

Featured in Rumble Fish (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

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

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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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