Mystery of Edwin Drood (1935)

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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 308 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 6 critic

An opium-addicted choirmaster develops an obsession for a beautiful young girl and will not stop short of murder in order to have her.


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Cast overview:
Douglass Montgomery ...
David Manners ...
Francis L. Sullivan ...
Zeffie Tilbury ...
E.E. Clive ...
Walter Kingsford ...
Forrester Harvey ...
Veda Buckland ...
Mrs. Tope (as Vera Buckland)
Elsa Buchanan ...
George Ernest ...
Deputy (as Georgie Ernest)
J.M. Kerrigan ...
Chief Verger Tope


John Jasper, a brooding, moody choirmaster at a finishing school in Victorian England, maintains a secret life that includes frequenting an opium den. His tortured mind becomes obsessed with a young student, Rosa Bud, who is engaged to his nephew Edwin Drood. When she senses the intensity of Jasper's feelings, she becomes frightened of him and avoids his company. When the mixed-blooded Neville Landless and his twin sister Helena arrive at the school from Ceylon, Neville and Edwin take an immediate dislike to one another over Rosa's affections. Although they quarrel and make up, Edwin disappears, and suspicion logically falls on the quick-tempered Neville. Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

4 February 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charles Dickens' 'Mystery of Edwin Drood'  »

Box Office


$215,375 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Part of the original Shock Theater package of 52 Universal titles released to television in 1957, followed a year later with Son of Shock, which added 20 more features. See more »


After the first dinner party, as David Manners and Douglass Montgomery are walking down the street to go home, the shadow of the boom mike can be seen in the background on the side of the buildings. See more »


Rosa Bud: Oh, Helena, I'm frightened!
Helena Landless: Mr. Jasper?
Rosa Bud: He haunts my thoughts like a dreadful ghost!
See more »


Version of The Mystery of Edwin Drood (2012) See more »


Silent Night
Lyrics by Joseph Mohr
Music by Franz Gruber
Sung as Christmas carol
See more »

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User Reviews

Raines and bevy of rich Dickens characters carry Drood.
9 December 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Dickens unfinished novel is given a plausible outcome in this Universal version of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Made in the same year as two MGM classics by Dickens, David Copperfield and Tale of Two Cities, it may lack their production values but it does have a hauntingly dark performance from Claude Rains as well as a cart full of Dickens characters splendidly played by some London stage vets.

Edwin Drood and Rosa Bud were engaged before they could talk but are more brother and sister than intendeds. His uncle John Jaspers, the Church choirmaster and pillar of the community is obsessed with Rosa, conversely he makes her skin crawl. When Neville Landless, a hot tempered Ceylonese arrives on the scene he falls for Rosa and argues with Edwin over her. The opium addicted Jaspers growing more paranoid by the minute decides to take drastic measures in order to secure Rosa for himself by eliminating his rivals.

In the early years of censorship Drood takes on a lot of controversial issues most pointedly opium addiction. Director Stuart Walker manages to ably convey its dilatory presence without mention or the appearance of the pipe by way of the dissipated personage of the raven eyed, mellifluously cold voice of Rains and the delicious harridan performance of opium den mother played by Zeffie Tillbury. Putting ample flesh on the rest of the cast EE Clive, Forester Harvey, Walter Kingsford and Ethel Griffes as Miss Twinkleton ("Crisis is a test of breeding ladies. Remember your Britains".) offer rich Dickens interpretations of comic manners providing Drood a lightness that balances Rains brooding madness. Lacking the pedigree and lushness of an MGM production The Mystery of Edwin Drood does just fine with less.

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