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11 Reviews
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected
Having recently watched the absolutely dire "Murder at the Windmill" (1949) I feared that this might prove to be similarly dreadful, but, actually, the plot is quite intriguing, the acting not nearly as stilted as can affect many British pictures of the 1930s and the musical numbers fairly entertaining. It was interesting to see Jack Hawkins and Donald Wolfit in their...
Published 11 months ago by Israel Iskowitz

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3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting look back
This film might be very old but is worth a few quid just to see how the BBC broadcast in those far off days. The storyline is ok but the way radio shows were put out is the real reason to buy it.
Published 2 months ago by Chris Palmer


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected, 19 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Death at Broadcasting House [DVD] (DVD)
Having recently watched the absolutely dire "Murder at the Windmill" (1949) I feared that this might prove to be similarly dreadful, but, actually, the plot is quite intriguing, the acting not nearly as stilted as can affect many British pictures of the 1930s and the musical numbers fairly entertaining. It was interesting to see Jack Hawkins and Donald Wolfit in their earliest screen appearances, also Val Gielgud (brother of John Gielgud) playing a character who is daggers drawn with the character who is played by Wolfit (In real life Sir John and Sir Donald couldn't tolerate each other!). R. F. Wilmut has given a very informative review which I cannot hope to improve on, but I think it should be mentioned that there are a few places where the print used for this dvd shows its age where the picture becomes unsteady; it's not enough to prevent enjoyment of this interesting issue, though, and I am very pleased to have seen it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black and White Delight!, 22 Aug 2013
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S. A. Bollongino "Bookaholic" (Berlin, Germany) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Death at Broadcasting House [DVD] (DVD)
The story is classic crime a la Dorothy L. Sayers, I expected Lord Peter to walk in at any moment! The DVD transfer is much much better than I had foreseen considering the age of the material; there are a couple of shaky moments but ca. 85% of the transfer is fine. Sound is great though the spoken English needs a few minutes acclimatisation as it's the old style "my bleck het" (my black hat) pronunciation. Lovely though!

The film includes some musical numbers with a nice touch of comedy thrown in here and there. The usual red herrings but it's not too difficult to guess "who done it" and a superb finale with all the suspects gathered back at Broadcasting House.

Perfect viewing for a rainy Sunday afternoon and suitable for the family so long as the children are not too young, the murder is fully portrayed on screen, nothing gory but nasty all the same.

This is a delightful classic black and white film and a must have, buy today!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder and radio, 18 Aug 2013
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R. F. Wilmut (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Death at Broadcasting House [DVD] (DVD)
The original plot comes from a novel set in what was then the mysterious world of radio. It was written in 1934 by Val Gielgud - brother of John Gielgud and then the BBC's Head of Productions - and 'Holt Marvell' - actually Eric Maschwitz, a lyricist and writer for films and the BBC.

The plot revolves round a live broadcast of a play, using multiple studios (as was common at the time). One actor has a scene by himself, at the end of which the script calls for him to be strangled: he plays this alone in a separate studio, but at the end of the play is discovered to have been strangled in reality. The book goes through all the usual procedures of a detective novel, tracking the motives and opportunities of the suspects. (I won't give the solution away.) The book isn't at all badly written, though perhaps a little plodding in places, but is of particular interest because the authors have been careful to keep it realistic: the exact layout of Broadcasting House is made use of (floor plans are provided) and the technique of radio drama is accurately represented: it does provide an intriguing glimpse into the workings of the BBC.

The same year it was made into the film now on DVD, directed by Reginald Denham, with Ian Hunter (best known as King Richard I in the 1938 Adventures of Robin Hood) as the detective, Donald Wolfit as the murder victim, and Val Gielgud himself as the drama producer, Julian Caird. The film sticks closely to the plot of the book, but is lighter in tone, and capitalizes on the glamour of broadcasting by including a number of cameo appearances by radio stars, among them Hannen Swaffer, Gilllie Potter, Elisabeth Welch and Percival Mackey.

Again, the feeling of period broadcasting is reasonably authentic: but when it was last shown on television (many years ago, and it's more than time it was shown again) a well-respected technical journalist was trapped into recommending readers to watch it because it provides a 'fascinating glimpse into Broadcasting House in the 193os'. Of course it does nothing of the sort. Quite apart from the technical difficulties in filming in relatively small studios (the camera wouldn't have been able to get far enough back) the BBC would hardly have welcomed a large film crew underfoot for the month it took to shoot.

All the interiors were created at a small film studio in Wembley. Though the general atmosphere of the sets is correct, there are many small details which are wrong (if you want to be picky). The plot makes play of the fact that the drama was recorded on the Blattnerphone (an early tape recorder using huge reels of steel tape), but unfortunately they weren't able to show it - either it was technically impracticable, or perhaps the BBC wouldn't co-operate.

The most dramatic difference caused a lot of amusement among Control Room staff at the time. When the murderer is revealed there is a chase through Broadcasting House, including the Control Room on the eighth floor. In the book, the murderer makes his way onto the roof, is shot after himself shooting at a policeman, and falls 'a hundred and twelve feet sheer to the pavement below'.

In the film he rushes into a small room off Control Room, and evidently flings himself across some terminals as there is a flash, all the lights go out, and he is dead by electrocution.

This was the 50 volt relay supply.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars vintage gem, 13 May 2014
By 
Mr. Kenneth D. Jones "hesketh" (wrexham.north wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Death at Broadcasting House [DVD] (DVD)
yes dated, yes that acting is somewhat wooden, but this is a vintage gem and reflects what audiences in the twenties and thirties found thrilling, fascinating and well worth a look, but has to be viewed without comparison to a modern film.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A glance at early broadcasting, 1 Nov 2013
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R. Allen - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Death at Broadcasting House [DVD] (DVD)
Wooden acting notwithstanding (or perhaps because of it) I found this sampler of the BBC in its then new home of Broadcasting House - look at the place today - a fascinating insight into the wonderful new fangled entertainment available to those that could afford a wireless. All of the BBC hardware then, including studios, transmitters, antennae etc. was under one roof in Portland Place.
The second world war, then only five years off, was to cast that final ravine between the genteel, if class-dominated age portrayed here and what was to follow.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting look back, 28 April 2014
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This review is from: Death at Broadcasting House [DVD] (DVD)
This film might be very old but is worth a few quid just to see how the BBC broadcast in those far off days. The storyline is ok but the way radio shows were put out is the real reason to buy it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good representation, 10 April 2014
By 
J. M. Harman - See all my reviews
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As a BBC radio actor, I find there is a great deal in this DVD to which I can relate! It is obvious that the external scenes were filmed outside Broadcasting House itself, but it would be interesting to know how the film-makers managed to re-construct the interior shots so accurately; there are even views of BBC equipment that was still in use during the 1980`s.

The `guest` appearances of such stars - of the day - Hannen Swaffer, Gillie Potter, Elizabeth Welch etc., give this film added interest, although one wonders how the inclusion of the dancing-girls - who, incidentally are delightful - fits in with a radio broadcast: presumably the listener has to use his imagination!

The acting is of a high standard, which is only to be expected when such people as Sir Donald Wolfit, Ian Hunter and Jack Hawkins are involved.

A recommended purchase.

John Harman
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting, 24 Mar 2014
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This DVD is very interesting as it was filmed in Broadcasting House in 1934 shortly after it was opened. It shows how broadcasting was in those days. A very young Donald Wolfit is in the cast.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Little gem, 27 Oct 2013
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E. Davey (England) - See all my reviews
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Finally settled down to watch this what turned out to be a classic little black and white romp, full of tongue in cheek jokes. Storyline cuts between a drama radio play broadcast and a radio variety show. Brilliant array of perfectly spoken actors including a very young Jack Hawkins. The evening broadcasts saw them returning in full evening dress for a radio performance! Even the tap dancers dressed in full costume. Never guessed the murderer until revealed at the end. Interesting insight to workings of BBC Broadcasting House in in 1934.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love the old fashioned films, 30 April 2014
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I love this old fashioned murder film's as the acting or so over the top with the actor's walking over to something and pointing at it instead of just pointing to it as you see in knew films . Plus you will sea an early film of Bette Davis and if you love Bette Davis films you just have to get this film .
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Death at Broadcasting House [DVD]
Death at Broadcasting House [DVD] by Reginald Denham (DVD - 2013)
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