I Killed the Count

I Killed the Count is a 1937 play by Alec Coppel. Its success launched Coppel's career.[1]

I Killed the Count
Written byAlec Coppel
Date premiered10 December 1937
Place premieredWhitehall Theatre, London
Original languageEnglish

Original London Production in 1937


1942 Broadway Production

The play was produced on Broadway in 1942.[2]

1939 Novel adaptation

A novelisation of the play was published in 1939.[3]

1939 Film adaptation

I Killed the Count
Spanish poster
Directed byFrederic Zelnik
Produced byIsadore Goldsmith
Written byLawrence Huntington
StarringBen Lyon
Music byHans May
CinematographyBryan Langley
Grafton Films
Release date
CountryUnited Kingdom

I Killed the Count is a 1939 British, black-and-white, comedy, crime, mystery film, directed by Frederic Zelnik and starring Ronald Shiner as Mullet, Ben Lyon, Syd Walker, Terence De Marney, Barbara Blair and Athole Stewart.[4]

It was produced by Grafton Films.


Cockney comedian Syd Walker plays it more or less straight as Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Davidson, at present trying to determine who murdered the much-hated Count Mattoni (Leslie Perrins). The dilemma isn't that the Detective is suffering from a lack of witnesses. In fact, four different people come forth to confess to the killing – each of them with plenty of motive and opportunity.



Originally released in the US by Grand National Films Inc. in 1939, I Killed the Count was reissued the following year as Who is Guilty? by Monogram Pictures in America.[5]

Radio Adaptations

The play was adapted for Australian radio in 1941. Max Afford did the adaptation.[6][7]

It was also adapted for BBC radio in 1945.[8]

1948 BBC TV Adaptation

A second adaptation I Killed the Count was made by the BBC in 1948.[9]

1956 ITV TV Adaptation

The play was adapted by ITV in 1956.[10]

1957 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Version

The play was also adapted as a three-parter on TV's Alfred Hitchcock Presents[11][12]

1959 Belgian TV Version

The play was adapted for Belgian TV in 1959.[13]


  1. Stephen Vagg, "Alec Coppel : Australian playwright and survivor", Australasian Drama Studies, 56, April 2010, 219-232
  2. "I Killed the Count". IBDB. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  3. Novel version at AustLit
  4. 1939 film version at AustLit
  5. Sandra Brennan. "Who Is Guilty? (1940) - Fred Zelnick | Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related". AllMovie. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  6. 1941 radio adaptation at AustLit
  7. "I KILLED THE COUNT". Barrier Daily Truth. XXXIII, (9888). New South Wales, Australia. 21 February 1941. p. 6. Retrieved 11 June 2016 via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  8. 1945 Radio adaptation at AustLit
  9. 1948 TV Adaptation at AustLit
  10. 1956 TV Version at AustLit
  11. Hal Erickson. "I Killed the Count (1939) - | Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related". AllMovie. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  12. 1957 TV Version at AustLit
  13. 1959 Belgian TV version at AustLit
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