The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1914)

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

Writers:

Charles Dickens (unfinished novel), Tom Terriss
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Thirteen scenes: opium den, Jasper's study, river bank, Bow Street runner, country church.

Director: Arthur Gilbert
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Cast

Cast overview:
Tom Terriss ... John Jasper
Rodney Hickok Rodney Hickok ... Edwin Drood
Vinnie Burns ... Rosa Bud
Paul Sterling Paul Sterling ... Neville Landless
Faye Cusick Faye Cusick ... Woman
Margaret Prussing ... Helena Landless
Alfred Hemming Alfred Hemming
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Storyline

A young couple, Edwin Drood and Rosa Bud, are engaged to be married. This is not a love affair, but a marriage of convenience, according to the wills of their parents. They, however, are very fond of each other in a platonic friendship. John Jasper, a young uncle of Edwin Drood, leader of the choir and organist of Cloisterham Cathedral, unknown to Edwin Drood, is madly in love with Rosa. His passion for her is so intense that it drives him to the despair of opium, and, in secret, he practices this vice in all manner of low places. A young man called Neville Landless is also in love with Rosa, and his feelings of jealousy and enmity to Drood are, at times, inflamed secretly by John Jasper. There is a quarrel after dinner one night at Jasper's home, and that night Edwin Drood disappears. Jasper, immediately arouses the village to suspect Neville Landless, who, in the morning after Drood's disappearance, left the village for a walking tour. A warrant is issued and Neville is brought back... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Genres:

Mystery

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 October 1914 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

World Film See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Connections

Version of Suspense: The Mystery of Edwin Drood: Part 2 (1952) See more »

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User Reviews

Will rank as among the great and remarkable achievements of the moving picture act
16 March 2019 | by deickemeyerSee all my reviews

This five-reel picture, made bv Blache for the World Film Corporation, will be most heartily welcomed not only by lovers of Dickens, but by every photoplay fan as well. As is well known, Dickens died before he had finished the story and since then minds big and little have been trying to solve the questions left unanswered by the author. Terriss has now added his solution of the problem, and while, in order to bring about the "happy ending" he has adopted the less likely answer as to Drood's death or disappearance, he has added to the Dickens' literature an entirely novel and original reply to the query, "What became of John Jasper?"-an answer that in some ways is the most Dickensesque of all that have preceded it. The story is clear and well told and follows closely in its earlier portions the line of development followed by Dickens, perhaps a little too closely in this last respect as those who have not read the fiction story may have a little difficulty at first in realizing the relationships of the characters. On the other hand, the main mystery theme is so clearly and interestingly dealt with and the acting so nearly perfect that the spectator is held enthralled from beginning to end. There are but two serious faults in the picture, one editorial, the other due to carelessness in production. The modern enameled iron bedstead that stares us in the face in the opium joint had no business to lie there and detracts seriously from the enjoyment of an otherwise magnificently produced scene. Not only has Dickens carefully described the old-fashioned four-post bedstead that was in the joint, but the modern iron bed was unknown at the time in which Dickens laid his story. The other error is in the preparation for the solution of the mysterv. The cathedral crypt scenes and the hiding of Drood's body are brought in at the end of the story as an absolute and rather jarring surprise. Dickens devotes several chapters as to how Jasper learned about the tombs and the quicklime and obtained the keys of the crypt and also the relations between Dachery and Durdles. These are important incidents and could easily have been inserted by enlarging the opium dreams of Jasper to include the visit to the crypt with Durdles and the purloining of the keys, and by a couple of scenes emphasizing Durdles' avocation of stonemason and his meeting with Datchery as Dickens has done. This would have immensely strengthened the argument for the solution offered as well as greatly clarified the story. On the whole, however, for accuracy of detail, comprehensiveness of treatment and a delicate and definite interpretation of Dickens the picture will rank, with "Dante's Inferno" and "Quo Vadis" as among the great and remarkable achievements of the moving picture act. - Moving Picture World, October 24, 1914


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