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Death at a Broadcast (1934)

Death at Broadcasting House (original title)
When an actor is murdered at the BBC Inspector Gregory finds he has many suspects to choose from.

Director:

Reginald Denham

Writers:

Basil Mason (adapted by), Val Gielgud (novel) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ian Hunter ... Detective Inspector Gregory
Austin Trevor ... Leopold Dryden
Lilian Oldland Lilian Oldland ... Joan Dryden (as Mary Newland)
Henry Kendall ... Rodney Fleming
Val Gielgud Val Gielgud ... Julian Caird
Peter Haddon Peter Haddon ... Guy Bannister
Betty Ann Davies ... Poppy Levine (as Betty Davies)
Jack Hawkins ... Herbert Evans
Donald Wolfit ... Sydney Parsons
Robert Rendel ... Sir Herbert Farquharson
Gordon McLeod Gordon McLeod ... Chief Commissioner
Hannen Swaffer Hannen Swaffer ... Hannen Swaffer - Radio Personality
Vernon Bartlett Vernon Bartlett ... Vernon Bartlett - News Broadcaster
Eric Dunstan Eric Dunstan ... Eric Dunstan - Radio Personality
Gillie Potter Gillie Potter ... Gillie Potter - Radio Personality
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Storyline

A radio actor is murdered live on air. Enter Detective Inspector Gregory suspicious of both cast and crew. The victim it's discovered had many enemies. The hunt to unmask the killer quickly ensues. Enjoyable romp through pre-war 1930's BBC Broadcasting House and London with a flavour here and there of the music, fashion and architecture of the times. Written by Steven Bain

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

murder | radio | based on novel | See All (3) »

Genres:

Mystery

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 October 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Death at a Broadcast See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Phoenix Films (II) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Natural Tone Silent Background Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First film of Donald Wolfit. See more »

Quotes

Rodney Fleming: [to the lift-man] I'm looking for Variety.
lift-man: That's eight floors down.
Rodney Fleming: But I've just come eight floors up!
lift-man: Then it'll be sixteen floors down.
See more »

Soundtracks

Hungarian Dance
(uncredited)
Music by Johannes Brahms
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User Reviews

 
Satisfying and worthwhile
25 January 2014 | by SpondonmanSee all my reviews

This is pretty fascinating stuff on a number of levels: the then visualisation of radio broadcasting for cinema audiences, the then limitations of radio and cinema technology, a frank and snappy dialogue, some wonderful art deco furniture and sets, the great Elizabeth Welch singing, and an all too brief song from Eve Becke and whichever band Percival Mackay was leading at the time. And the BBC for once apparently received no complaints after twenty five million people had listened to a live radio strangulation. Probably Lord Reith would have at least apologised.

A radio actor is murdered during a live broadcast, the cast and crew are therefore suspect – and the hunt by Detective Inspector Ian Hunter is soon on for the culprit in a short and swift film. The perceived interiors of Broadcasting House looked flimsier than the acting but the unmasking of the dastard involved a cast-iron alibi being broken. It's one thing knowing that back then BBC radio newsreaders were booted and suited or in full evening gowns with no one to see them but another to have scantily-clad showgirls performing mainly for the edification of the microphones. Maybe it's a BBC trait! There's a young heavily eye-shadowed Jack Hawkins in here, Henry Kendall was as urbane as ever, and Donald Wolfit had a small - but vital - part in one of his first films. Many iconic poses were struck with many nice scenes. What a pity all BBC broadcasts weren't preserved on steel tape, never mind about for the Empire but for the broadcastless future generations - over the years many BBC radio shows survived only on transcription discs meant for foreign consumption.

If I wanted to be awkward I could add that I personally think genuine talent and honest morality have both been strangled to death at the obese Broadcasting House over the last eighty years too and because of this no one has therefore logically seen fit to make a movie about it. But I'm glad this was made - it's still a refreshing atmospheric whodunit and something to make you think!


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