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The Price of a Song

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Title: The Price of a Song  
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Subject: Michael Powell (director), Felix Aylmer, Two Crowded Hours
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The Price of a Song

The Price of a Song
Production still of Marjorie Corbett and Gerald
Fielding in The Price of a Song
Directed by Michael Powell
Produced by Michael Powell
Written by Michael Barringer
Starring Campbell Gullan
Marjorie Corbett
Gerald Fielding
Cinematography James Wilson
Distributed by Fox British
Release date(s) 7 October 1935
Running time 67 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Price of a Song (1935) is a British crime film, directed by Michael Powell. The Price of a Song was one of 23 quota quickies directed by Powell between 1931 and 1936 and features a largely forgotten cast – only Felix Aylmer, here in a minor role, would go on to a significant film career.

Preservation status

The Price of a Song is among eleven of these films of which no extant print has been located, and its current status is "missing, believed lost", with only a handful of production stills known to survive. Along with Powell's directorial debut Two Crowded Hours (1931) and his feature The Man Behind the Mask (1936), The Price of a Song is currently included on the British Film Institute's "75 Most Wanted" list of missing British films.[1]


Impecunious bookmaker's clerk Arnold Grierson, seeing a way to easy money, forces his daughter Margaret to marry wealthy but obnoxious songwriter Nevern, ignoring her romance with local newspaper editor Michael Hardwick. Soon after the wedding, Grierson requests the loan of a significant sum of money from Nevern and is furious and humiliated to be flatly turned down. He begins to make elaborate plans to murder Nevern on the assumption that Margaret will then inherit her husband's estate. Meanwhile the desperately unhappy Margaret has rekindled her relationship with Hardwick. Nevern finds them in a café together and causes a public scene. Margaret determines that her only course of action is to divorce Nevern, a prospect which horrifies her father.

Nevern is in the process of composing a new song, and lodges a draft manuscript with his publisher. Making sure he has set up a foolproof alibi, Grierson goes to Nevern's house and kills him as he is finalising his new composition. As he leaves through one door, Hardwick, intending to ask Nevern to divorce Margaret, arrives through another. Hardwick finds the body and alerts the police, who in the circumstances do not believe his story and arrest him on suspicion of murder.

The interested parties later gather at Nevern's home to hear the reading of the will. Margaret is declared the sole inheritor of all her husband's money and assets, to the delight of her father. He is so happy that he begins to whistle, and gives himself away because it is Nevern's finished composition, which he could only have heard by being in the house on the night of the murder.


  • Campbell Gullan as Arnold Grierson
  • Marjorie Corbett as Margaret Nevern
  • Gerald Fielding as Michael Hardwick
  • Dora Barton as Letty Grierson
  • Eric Maturin as Nevern
  • Charles Mortimer as Oliver Bloom
  • Oriel Ross as Elsie
  • Henry Caine as Stringer
  • Sybil Grove as Mrs. Bancroft
  • Felix Aylmer as Graham


External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • AllRovi
  • at BritMovie
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