Detail

Title ID 5032Collection ID694
TitleMurder at the Theatre Royal
Date[1939?]
CollectionBognor Regis Film Society
Genre/TypeAmateurCine/Video clubFictionCrime/Detective
ThemeCine Club Film-Making
KeywordsDance Entertainment Men Performing Arts Theatre Costume
Location
LocalBognor Regis
RegionalWest Sussex
NationalEngland United Kingdom
Credits
ProductionBognor Regis Film Society
DirectorH. L. Guenmonprez
ProducerV. Sinnott
LightingC. Start
CastRobin Ayres
Other creditsL. Cornish (Continuity); V. Bateman (Make-Up); John Ayres, Barry Hart, W. Sinnott (Photography)
FormatBlack & White Silent
Duration32 min.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details

Summary

A murder mystery that takes place at the Theatre Royal. Famous tenor Maxwell Foster is murdered in his dressing room by Trevor 'Taffy' Jorden. When evidence is found that proves his guilt, Jorden frames his love rival Jack Merridew before committing suicide.

Description

A crowd is gathered outside the doors of the Theatre Royal. A man smokes a cigarette and looks at a poster announcing the famous tenor, Maxwell Foster will be performing there. Inside the theatre, the acts are preparing for the evening show. Two dancers, Jack Merridew and Maggie Gwynne (?) flirt in front of the pigeon holes. A third man, Trevor Jorden arrives. He too flirts with Maggie, much to the anger of Merridew.

In his dressing room, Maxwell Foster is applying his stage make-up in front of the mirror. Someone enters his room holding a gun. Unaware, Foster reads a mysterious note from 'Taffy'. Dismissing it, he turns back to the mirror to see the murderer with the gun. Foster is shot. When the murderer has left the room, Foster uses his last bit of strength the write the word 'Taffy' on the mirror in greasepaint. His body is discovered by the call-boy. A reporter is also there at the theatre and takes a picture of the scene of the crime.

The next night, the murder is front-page news. A newspaper reveals that the police have no idea who 'Taffy' is. It also says that the show will continue as normal. Back at the Theatre Royal, Merridew and Jorden are in their shared dressing room preparing for the evening show. Jorden pulls out a small book of photos, the first one being a photograph of Maggie. As Merridew watches angrily, Jorden taunts him by kissing the photo then leaves the room.

Merridew picks up the photo booklet that Jorden left behind. He steals Maggie's photo but by doing so, dislodges the photographs behind it, causing them to fall. There is a picture of Jorden and Foster, the caption saying 'Taffy Jorden'. Merridew realises that Jorden is the murderer.

Meanwhile, Jorden enters Maggie's dressing room. Propped up on the dressing table is a photograph of Merridew. Jorden picks it up. When Maggie tries to grab it back, he attempts to kiss her. She resists, causing them to fight. Outside the dressing room, the reporter bumps into the stage manager, who pushes him aside. He falls into the room, revealing Jorden and Maggie's struggle. The manager escorts Jorden back to his dressing room while the photographer stays to cheer Maggie up.

Merridew is still looking at the photo of Foster and Jorden as they walk in. He shows the incriminating evidence to Jorden, who tries to take it back. The two struggle as Merridew makes Jorden confess. Their quarrel is witnessed by the call-boy when he calls Merridew to the stage. He leaves the room.

While Maggie and Merridew dance together on stage, Jorden goes to her dressing room again and steals Merridew's photograph. He signs it 'Taffy', making it appear the Merridew is actually the murderer. Back in his own dressing room, he burns the incriminating photo of himself and Foster. He also burns half the photograph of Merridew, making it look like Merridew was unsuccessfully trying to destroy evidence. He then shoots himself. After the call-boy has discovered the body, the manager and reporter search the room and discover the half-burnt photo of Merridew. Jack is arrested for the 'murder'. A newspaper article reveals no weapon was found.

Convinced of Merridew's innocence, the reporter later returns to the scene of the crime. He finds the gun Jorden used tied to a piece of elastic hidden up the chimney and realises it was suicide. Merridew is released from prison and returns to the theatre. The film ends with the call-boy discovering Merridew and Maggie kissing backstage after the show.