Death At Broadcasting House
1934. 75 minutes. Murder Mystery.
Screenplay: Val Gielgud, Holt Marvell, Basil Mason
Director: Reginald Denham
Producer: Hugh Percival
Ian Hunter - Detective Inspector Gregory
Austin Trevor - Leopold Dryden
Lilian Oldland - Joan Dryden
Henry Kendall - Rodney Fleming
Val Gielgud - Julian Caird
Peter Haddon - Guy Bannister
Betty Ann Davies - Poppy Levine
Jack Hawkins - Herbert Evans
Donald Wolfit - Sydney Parsons
Robert Rendel - Sir Herbert Farquharson
Bruce Lester - Peter Ridgewell
Brace yourself everyone! This film is a murder mystery, a real whodunit! I know! Now, you might like to take someone brave with you to watch it with.
The action takes place in BBC Broadcasting House. A play is being broadcast live on the wireless. The play is a murder mystery and during the recording, one of the actors is murdered - strangled it you please, live on the wireless for everyone to hear! You see, it appears that when some radio plays are recorded, the actors are in separate rooms. The poor chap that played the murder victim is in a room on his own and whilst he is acting his murder scene, he is actually murdered. I hid behind my hands at that bit! The rest of the cast are in another room and they don't realise he has been murdered, they just think he's a good actor. Anyway, it is left up to Detective Inspector Gregory to find the murderer, so he recreates the crime hoping that it will unmask the murderer.
My thoughts on the film:
The film is taken from a novel by Val Gielgud and Holt Marvell. Val Gielgud is the BBC's Head of Production and in charge of radio drama. He has been there since 1929 and is still there now during WWII, doing a splendid job. Not only is this film a murder mystery, that, quite frankly made me spill my tea and hide behind my hands, it is also a showcase for Broadcasting House, as it was only opened 2 years before the film was made, in 1932. It was a marvellous insight into what goes on in producing programmes for the wireless. They all dress ever so smart to record their programmes you know - black ties and ballgowns! There also some performances from real-life stars; Elizabeth Welch from Broadway in America and British singer Eve Becke.
Now, fear not, I won't tell you who did the murder, but quite honestly, as the titles went up at the start and we saw all of the players, they all looked guilty to me! But, it was a splendid film. Mrs T and her friends enjoyed it ever so much, they all thought it marvellous, and they should know, they're always borrowing murder mysteries out of my lending library in the shop.
This is a must watch for murder mystery fans and those who are interested in a behind the scenes glimpse of Broadcasting House in 1934. But I can honestly say though; I will never be able to listen to a play on the wireless in the same way again!