The Edgar Wallace Mysteries is a British second-feature film series mainly produced at Merton Park Studios for Anglo-Amalgamated.There were 48 films in the series, which were released between 1960 and 1965. The series was screened as The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre on television in the United States.
Producers Nat Cohen and Stuart Levy acquired the film rights to all of Edgar Wallace's books and stories in 1960.
The original intent was that 30 of the films would be produced by Independent Artists at Beaconsfield Studios while a further 20 would be made by the Film Producers Guild at Merton Park Studios.
In the event, Independent Artists' only contribution to the series would be The Malpas Mystery while more than double the intended 20 were made at Merton Park. The resulting adaptations were loose, with very few using Wallace's original titles. Like the concurrent Rialto Film series then being produced in Germany (see German crimis), there was no attempt to set them in the period settings of Wallace's original stories, 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 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 ten of them were allocated to the rival Rank circuit, with screenings in their 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. [ citation needed ]"Man of Mystery" was later recorded by The Shadows and became a number 5 hit record in the UK. Later episodes of the series used a speeded up version of the title music after the Shadows' cover version.
The film, Violent Moment (1959), was later released with the Wallace Mysteries' credits replacing the originals, even though it was not part of the series. According to Kim Newman, insufficient episodes were available for American television, for the series was still in production; hence, the distributor Anglo-Amalgamated attached the 'Wallace Mysteries' credits to some of its other mystery and crime films (such as House of Mystery , 1961) and thereby expanded the series.[ citation needed ]
The series has been shown on television.In Britain, it was shown by ITV in 1968 under the title Tales of Edgar Wallace. Later, Channel 4 and Bravo rescreened the films through to the 1990s, later being re-shown on Talking Pictures TV from 2018. It was shown on American 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.
Urge to Kill (1960) does not appear to have been part of the original series of films produced at Merton Park.Other films not shot as part of the series, but subsequently included, are Gerry Anderson's Crossroads to Crime (1960) and Seven Keys (1961).
The Radio Times described the series as "Brit noir at its best, updating some of the author's stories to more contemporary settings and blending classic B-movie elements with a distinctly British feel."
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Armchair Theatre is a British television drama anthology series of single plays that ran on the ITV network from 1956 to 1974. It was originally produced by ABC Weekend TV. Its successor Thames Television took over from mid-1968.
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Anglo-Amalgamated Productions was a British film production company, run by Nat Cohen and Stuart Levy, which operated from 1945 until roughly 1971. Low-budget and second features, often produced at Merton Park Studios, formed much of its output. It was the UK distributor of many films produced by American International Pictures (AIP), who distributed AA's films in the United States.
James Philip O'Connolly was an English actor, director, producer and screenwriter. He is best known as the associate producer of many of the Edgar Wallace Mysteries b-films made at Merton Park Studios in the early 1960s, though he also directed a number of other low budget British movies, including The Hi-Jackers (1963), Smokescreen (1964), and Tower of Evil (1972), as well as several episodes of The Saint.
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We Shall See is a 1964 British drama film directed by Quentin Lawrence and starring Maurice Kaufmann, Faith Brook and Alec Mango. It was adapted from a 1926 novel We Shall See! by Edgar Wallace, and was made at Merton Park Studios as part of the long-running series of Edgar Wallace Mysteries.
The Clue of the New Pin (1961) is a British crime film directed by Allan Davis and starring Paul Daneman, Bernard Archard and James Villiers. It was one of the series of Edgar Wallace Mysteries, British second-features, produced at Merton Park Studios in the 1960s.
The Sinister Man is a 1961 British crime drama film directed by Clive Donner and starring Patrick Allen and John Bentley. It was one of the series of Edgar Wallace Mysteries, British second-features, produced at Merton Park Studios in the 1960s.
Incident at Midnight is a 1963 British crime film directed by Norman Harrison and starring Anton Diffring, William Sylvester and Justine Lord. It was made at Merton Park Studios as part of the series of Edgar Wallace Mysteries, in this case adapted from one of Wallace's short stories.
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The Malpas Mystery is a 1960 British 'B' movie crime film, directed by Sidney Hayers. Although originally made by Independent Artists at Beaconsfield studios, it was included in the Merton Park series of Edgar Wallace Mysteries. When Audrey is released from prison, she finds herself embroiled with mysterious doctors, missing heirs, diamonds and murder.
Marriage of Convenience is a 1960 British crime film directed by Clive Donner and starring Harry H. Corbett, John Cairney and John Van Eyssen. Part of the long-running series of Edgar Wallace Mysteries films made at Merton Park Studios, it is based on the 1924 novel The Three Oak Mystery.
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