Valentine Dyall as Dr Morelle

This film dates back to 1949 and was made at the Studios of Exclusive Films. An early Hammer Film with quite a meagre budget – the Dr Morelle stories had been broadcast as plays on BBC Radio in the War years and afterwards – and that had been very successful.

It was hoped that a film version would capitalise on that but, like Dick Barton Special Agent the public preferred it on Radio.

In the case of Dick Barton, it was mainly because the actors chosen just did not fit the public’s perception of how they looked at all. When we listen to an Audio Drama – as I frequently do – we see the characters in our minds very clearly.

I always remember someone telling me that when asked why they liked Radio Drama – the answer came back ‘because the scenery is better’

I know what they mean.

Valentine Dyall had done a lot of Radio work – in fact that is where he is probably best known – as the ‘The Man in Black’

A Hammer – Edward G, Whiting production released by Exclusive Films. 
Ernest Dudleys famous character of “Monday Night at Eight”. Adapted from a play by Wilfred Burr. 
Recorded by United Programmes 

Black & White 73 minutes

Valentine Dyall as Dr Morelle
Julia Lang as Miss Frayle

Heiress Cynthia Mason disappears in mysterious circumstances just as she is about to come into her inheritance and elope with her boyfriend, Peter Lorimer. Worried by her disappearance, her friend Miss Frayle, who is also assistant to amateur detective Doctor Morelle, takes it upon herself to investigate.
Masquerading as a housemaid, Miss Frayle travels to Cynthia’s remote West Country mansion home, where she encounters her friend’s intimidating, wheelchair-bound stepfather, Mr Kimber.
Miss Frayle soon finds herself out of her depth and, when Bensall, the butler, is murdered and she finds her own life to be in danger, she makes a desperate telephone call to her boss, Doctor Morelle, begging him for help 

The Above Picture is of ‘this magnificent building set in it’s own beautiful grounds that has just become the home of production activity lined up for Exclusive Films’ – that was the 1949 caption from one of the first rate Cinema Magazines of the day. It is Oakley Court, Near Windsor.

Interestingly Valentine Dyall worked there on a film shortly after this – a role he was famous for – the film was ‘The Man in Black’

However this Dr Morelle film was mainly shot around Cookham – more towards Henley on Thames.

This film is based on stories written by Ernest Dudley. It was a long-running series, initially starring Dennis Arundell in Wartime years and afterwards – it was very popular. In the 1950s, the role was taken by Cecil Parker with Sheila Sim as Miss Frayle.

There were also short stories, and even a stage play. In fact BELOW we can see a programme from the 1950 stage play at the theatre in Kew with Dennis Arundell as Dr Morelle and Jane Grahame as Miss Frayle. I would think that was a good one to see – I have not heard of any Dr Morelle stage productions.

Jane Grahame was actually the wife of Ernest Dudley the creator and writer of the Dr Morelle stories. She was also the original Miss Frayle in the Radio series – the same role as she had in this stage production

I really wish that the Dr Morelle stories could be done again on Radio or Television – I think they could prove entertaining and draw a good audience.

posted by Movieman in Uncategorized and have Comments (3)

3 Responses to “Valentine Dyall as Dr Morelle”

  1. Robert says:

    A film I really enjoyed with Valentine Dayll was
    Vengeance Is Mine with the always dependable Sam Kydd

    • Movieman says:

      I don’t know this one Robert so will look it up. I really likes Valentine Dyall though. The very name identifies him both from Radio and Films.

  2. Robert says:

    True Neil, I wonder if any of his Radio work survives

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