Death at Broadcasting House

Format: DVD


Capitalising on the popularity of radio as the mass-medium du jour, 1934's Death at Broadcasting House is a highly effective murder mystery based on the novel by radio and television drama pioneer Val Gielgud and fellow broadcaster Eric Maschwitz (under the pen name Holt Marvell). When an actor is strangled to death on air whilst performing live to 35 million listeners, everyone at Broadcasting House comes under the scrutiny of the dedicated Inspector Gregory - well, everyone except the Director General that is...

Death at Broadcasting House

A solid whodunit with a twisty ending that hinges upon the BBC boffins' ability to record a live broadcast (on Blattnerphone steel wire recording) it unwittingly became the archetype for every successive mystery film whose solution depends upon the use of recording technology. Gielgud - basically playing himself - is every bit as personable as his brother Johnny, while the sparkling Wildean bon mots and waspish verbal jousting that pepper the dialogue throughout are an utter joy - as is the startling, almost-expressionistic cinematography (so anachronistically splendid in so British a production). Gunther Krampf's experience at UFA is clearly on display here - a true talent whose visual ingenuity and radical use of shadow create a film which is undoubtedly proto-noir in look, if not in tone.

Steve Rogers

Death at Broadcasting House


Featuring early film roles for Ian Hunter, Jack Hawkins and Donald Wolfit, this whodunit offers both a brilliantly inventive storyline and a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse into the early days of broadcasting. Released in 1934, with scenes filmed at the BBC’s then newly constructed London headquarters (and encompassing performances by Broadway star Elisabeth Welch and British singer/actress Eve Becke), Death at Broadcasting House is presented here in a brand-new transfer from original film elements in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio.

When an actor is murdered during the recording of a radio play, Detective Inspector Gregory quickly discovers that the victim had many enemies amongst his fellow players. When his deductions lead him into a blind alley he decides to reconstruct the crime, hoping that this tried and tested device will lead him to the killer. All the technical and human resources of Broadcasting House are brought to his aid…

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Death at Broadcasting House

Number of Discs
1.33:1 / Black and White
Mono / English
2 / PAL
69 mins approx