Edgar Wallace Mysteries

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Title sequence

The Edgar Wallace Mysteries was a British second-feature film series, produced at Merton Park Studios for Anglo-Amalgamated. There were 47 films in the series, made between 1960 and 1965.

Synopsis[edit]

The films were loose adaptations of Edgar Wallace's books and stories. Very few used his original titles, and there was no attempt to set them in the period in which Wallace wrote, probably to eliminate the need for elaborate costumes and sets. A 1962 article in Scene magazine quotes £22,000 as the budget for an episode that was in production at the time of reporting, the majority of the films played as supporting features on the ABC Cinemas circuit, which was Anglo-Amalgamated's usual outlet, but nine of them were allocated to the rival Rank circuit playing Odeon and Gaumont cinemas.

Most of the series featured a uniform title sequence, in which a shadowed bust of Edgar Wallace revolves slowly against a backdrop of swirling mist, to the accompaniment of the "Man of Mystery" theme written by Michael Carr. "Man of Mystery" was later recorded by The Shadows and became a no. 5 hit record in the UK.

The series has been shown on television; in Britain it was seen on ITV in 1968 under the title Tales of Edgar Wallace and proved popular, although the Independent Television Authority banned repeats on the grounds of lack of merit. Later Channel 4 and Bravo showed the films at various times through to the 1990s, later being re-aired in 2018 on Talking Pictures TV. It was shown on US television as The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre, with episodes cut to fit hour-long commercial TV slots.

In July 2012, Network DVD began to release the complete series on DVD, uncut and presented in its original aspect ratio.

Films[edit]

Urge to Kill (1960) does not appear to have been part of the original series of 40 films produced at Merton Park; instead The Malpas Mystery (1960) was indeed one of the 1960 batch of the run of 40, although it is not listed above because it was not included in the Network DVD collection.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Steve Chibnall & Brian McFarlane, The British 'B' Film, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2009, pp. 236–40