Sign In Don't have an account? Start a Wiki. Categories :. Cancel Save. Because a successful movie hinges upon having an ending, filmmakers who adapted The Mystery of Edwin Drood for the screen were forced to fill in the blanks. Holmes had been urged to try his hand at a musical by Gail Merrifield the wife of Public Theater head Joseph Papp , who had been impressed by the composer's performance of his own story-songs at a nightclub in Also in keeping with music hall tradition, Holmes opted to have the lead character of Drood be played by a cross-dressing woman.
Holmes wrote the book, music, lyrics and orchestrations for the show—an impressive feat in itself—but the real draw of Drood was his groundbreaking choice to allow the audience , rather than himself, to finish the story. A host of Broadway stars joined Rivera in the cast, including Stephanie J. Performances began on October 19, and early buzz among theatergoers made Drood one of the hottest tickets in town—and with almost different variations, performances are rarely the same.
Crack the case of The Mystery of Edwin Drood at Studio 54—and make your own decision about how the story should end! Skip to main content. Shows Buzz Video Groups. Home Shows. Buzz Video. Not a communicable idea or the interest of the book would be gone , but a very strong one, though difficult to work. The last chapters were to be written in the condemned cell, to which his wickedness, all elaborately elicited from him as if told of another, had brought him.
Discovery by the murderer of the utter needlessness of the murder for its object, was to follow hard upon commission of the deed; but all discovery of the murderer was to be baffled till towards the close, when, by means of a gold ring which had resisted the corrosive effects of the lime into which he had thrown the body, not only the person murdered was to be identified but the locality of the crime and the man who committed it.
So much was told to me before any of the book was written; and it will be recollected that the ring, taken by Drood to be given to his betrothed only if their engagement went on, was brought away with him from their last interview. Rosa was to marry Tartar, and Crisparkle the sister of Landless, who was himself, I think, to have perished in assisting Tartar finally to unmask and seize the murderer.
Although the killer is not revealed, it is generally believed that John Jasper, Edwin's uncle, is the murderer. There are three reasons:. Datchery appears some time after Edwin's disappearance and keeps a close eye on Jasper. There are hints that he is in disguise, and this theme has been taken up in adaptations of the story which try to solve the mystery: in the movie production of the story, starring Claude Rains as Jasper, Datchery is Neville Landless in disguise.
A strong argument can be made for Datchery being Tartar. Datchery is described at one point as walking with his hands clasped behind him — "as the wont of such buffers is", a walking stance frequently associated with naval officers pacing a quarter-deck. Frequently there are similar expressions used to describe both characters. The Mystery of Edwin Drood was scheduled to be published in twelve instalments shorter than Dickens's usual twenty from April to February , each costing one shilling and illustrated by Luke Fildes. Only six of the instalments were completed before Dickens's death in It was therefore approximately half finished.
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Supplying a conclusion to The Mystery of Edwin Drood has occupied writers from the time of Dickens' death to the present day. The first three attempts to complete the story were undertaken by Americans. Kerr in ,  was as much a parody as a continuation, transplanting the story to the United States. It is a "burlesque" farce rather than a serious attempt to continue in the spirit of the original story.
The second ending was written by Henry Morford, a New York journalist. He travelled to Rochester with his wife and published the ending serially during his stay in England from — In this ending, Edwin Drood survives Jasper's murder attempt. Datchery is Bazzard in disguise, but Helena disguises herself as well to overhear Jasper's mumbling under the influence of opium. The third attempt was perhaps the most unusual. In , a Brattleboro, Vermont printer, Thomas Power James , published a version which he claimed had been literally 'ghost-written' by him channeling Dickens' spirit.
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Other Drood scholars disagree. John C. Walters "dismiss[ed it] with contempt", stating that the work "is self-condemned by its futility, illiteracy, and hideous American mannerisms; the mystery itself becomes a nightmare, and the solution only deepens the obscurity. Out of 15, responses, the overwhelming verdict was that Jasper killed his own nephew and stashed his body in the church crypt, the same solution proposed by Dickens' friends and family. John Jasper played by Frederick T.
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Harry stood trial for the murder of Edwin Drood. Chesterton , best known for the Father Brown mystery stories, was the judge, and George Bernard Shaw was the foreman of the jury, which was made up of other authors. Proceedings were very light-hearted; Shaw in particular made wisecracks at the expense of others present.
The Mystery of Edwin Drood: A Dickens of a whodunnit
For instance, Shaw claimed that if the prosecution thought that producing evidence would influence the jury then "he little knows his functions". The jury returned a verdict of manslaughter , Shaw stating that it was a compromise on the grounds that there was not enough evidence to convict Jasper but that they did not want to run the risk of being murdered in their beds. Both sides protested and demanded that the jury be discharged. Shaw claimed that the jury would be only too pleased to be discharged. Chesterton ruled that the mystery of Edwin Drood was insoluble and fined everyone, except himself, for contempt of court.
The first two silent pictures released in British  and American  are unavailable to the general public and have been little-seen since they were released.
The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens
These were followed by:. Music by Eduard Artemiev. It depicts John Jasper played by Herbert Marshall as the killer, tricked into giving himself away. Following almost immediately on Charles Dickens's death, playwrights and theatre companies have mounted versions of The Mystery of Edwin Drood with varying degrees of popularity, success, and faithfulness to the original work.
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The first modern major theatrical adaptation was a musical comedy with book, music, and lyrics by Rupert Holmes. Because Dickens's book was left unfinished, the musical hinges upon a novel idea: the audience decides by vote which of the characters is the murderer. Crisparkle, Princess Puffer, and Mr. Crisparkle, or Mr. Bazzard to play the role of Dick Datchery since the cast votes that Edwin Drood actually was murdered and cannot be Dick Datchery.
As well, one male and one female character are chosen to develop a romance together: Holmes wrote brief alternate endings for every possible voting outcome, even the most unlikely. For reasons of dramatic variety, John Jasper is presented as a red herring in the final solution. The audience is discouraged to vote for him, and in the final scene, he confesses to the murder only for Durdles to reveal that Jasper hallucinated the attack on Drood after stumbling upon the scene of the murder, and disposed of the body thinking he had committed the crime himself.
The production, originally known by the full name of The Mystery of Edwin Drood , but re-titled halfway through its original run to simply Drood ,  was first produced in by the New York Shakespeare Festival , and then transferred to Broadway, where it ran for performances and 24 previews. The musical has since played successfully in numerous regional and amateur productions. The production was directed by Matthew Gould. Most recently, a popular Broadway revival by the Roundabout Theatre Company  was incorporated into its — season.
Block as Edwin Drood. The final "Murderer" tabulations assigned to each of the characters and the identity of "Datchery" were displayed overhead on chalkboards in the foyer, visible to the departing audience.
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