The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1914)

Genres - Mystery  |  
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World Film was the first motion picture company that tried to tack an ending onto Charles Dickens' unfinished novel. Screenwriter Tom Terriss, who also starred as choirmaster John Jasper, gave it a happy ending which, despite the raves of the trade papers, must have horrified Dickens' fans. According to Dickens, Edwin Drood (Rodney Hicock and Rosa Budd (Vinnie Burns) are engaged to be married, as their parents have desired. But unbeknownst to Drood, his youthful uncle, Jasper, is deeply in love with Rosa -- so much so, in fact, that his despair has turned him into a secret opium addict. Neville Landless (Paul Sterling) is also in love with Rosa, and Jasper helps feed his jealousy of Drood. Then one day Drood vanishes. Because of Jasper's assertions, Landless is held and questioned for Drood's murder but no body is found. Meanwhile, Landless' sister Helena (Margaret Prussing) also disappears and not long after a stranger named Datchery shows up and begins asking questions about Drood's disappearance. Suspicion seems to be following Jasper when Dickens' story stops. According to the Terriss version, Drood escapes Jasper's attempt to kill him with the help of Datchery, who is Helena Landless in disguise. A different take on the mystery was shot in 1935, and the story was filmed once again (after becoming a Broadway show) in 1993.