Good adaption of Charles Dickens unfinished novel. Claude Rains is the choirmaster obsessed with teenage student Rosa Bud played by Heather Angel.
It’s 1864. Choirmaster John Jaspar is well respected by the Church of England. No one knows he goes to London using an alias and is addicted to opium. While under its spell he dreams of a life with teenage student Rosa Bud (Heather Angel).
Rosa has been engaged to Jaspar’s nephew Edwin Drood (David Manners) since they were babies. Edwin, sometimes called Ned, is now twenty-one and asks Rosa to marry him and go to Egypt where he’s accepted a job as an engineer. She admits she doesn’t have those kinds of feelings for him.
Arriving in town are Neville Landless (Douglas Montgomery) and his sister Helena (Valerie Hobson) from Ceylon. He’s a new student for Mr.Crisparkle and she is going to be Rosa’s new roommate at the seminary school. Neville immediately falls for Rosa. He argues with Edwin about the way he treats her. He calls Crisparkle outside and tells him he and his sister are in England because he pulled a knife on his father when he caught her beating his sister. He admits that he has a violent temper.
Jack tries to be peacemaker and invites Edwin and Neville to his home. The boys have been drinking too much and the argument starts again. This time Neville pulls a knife on Edwin. Jack breaks it up. Rosa forgives Neville but it causes gossip. Rosa’s guardian is talking with Rosa and Edwin and gives Edwin a ring left by Rosa’s mother. He’s to give it to her only if he really loves her. A bit later they decide to call off the wedding because they get along better as brother and sister. No hard feelings because Edwin knows how she feels about Neville. They don’t tell anyone.
Jack goes to the cemetery and is given a night time tour by caretaker Durdles who is drunk as usual. He shows Jack four keys to various buildings. In the basement of the cathedral Durdles takes a hammer and pounds on the floor to show Jack that he knows where older bodies are buried. One slab rings hollow because it’s empty. Durdles passes out and Jack takes the key and makes a wax impression for a copy.
It’s Christmas Eve and Jack has Neville and Edwin over for a peace making dinner. There’s a really bad thunderstorm. The next morning Edwin is missing and Jack tells the Mayor that Neville murdered him. Ncville is taking a walking tour when some townspeople find him. He thinks they’re a gang of thieves and attacks with his walking stick. They take him back to town.
Crisparkle vouches for Neville and he’s released. That night they drag the river and find Edwin’s watch. Jack is told that the wedding had been called off and he faints. He posts a two hundred pound reward for any knowledge leading to Edwin’s killer. A few months go by and he confesses to Rosa how he feels about her. All it does is scare her. Now wanted posters go up for Neville.
Dickens did not leave an ending for the book so no one knows what he had in mind. In this case the film makers come up with an obvious ending but it’s still a good presentation and well worth checking out.