Edgar Wallace Mysteries

The Edgar Wallace Mysteries was a British second-feature film series, produced at Merton Park Studios for Anglo-Amalgamated.[1] There were 47 films in the series, made between 1960 and 1965.[2]


Producers Nat Cohen and Stuart Levy acquired the rights to all of Edgar Wallace's books and stories in 1960.[1] These were loose adaptations, very few using 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.[3] 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 playing Odeon and Gaumont cinemas.[4]

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.[5] "Man of Mystery" was later recorded by The Shadows and became a no. 5 hit record in the UK.[6][7]

The series has been shown on television.[8] 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 US television as The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre, with episodes cut to fit hour-long commercial TV slots.[9]

In July 2012, Network DVD began to release the complete series on DVD, uncut and presented in its original aspect ratio.[10]


Urge to Kill (1960) and The Malpas Mystery (1960) do not appear to have been part of the original series of films produced at Merton Park.[2][11] Another film not shot as part of the series, but subsequently included, is Gerry Anderson's Crossroads to Crime (1960).[12]

See also


Further reading

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