A beautiful showgirl, name "the Canary" is a scheming nightclub singer. Blackmailing is her game and with that she ends up dead. But who killed "the Canary". All the suspects knew and were ...
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At the end of each year, the extremely wealthy but odious Greene family gets together at the spooky old family castle to establish terms of a will, though they despise each other. This year... See full summary »
After killing her treacherous step-father, a girl tries to escape the country with a young vagabond. She dresses as a boy, they hop freight trains, quarrel with a group of hobos, and steal ... See full summary »
William A. Wellman
A beautiful showgirl, name "the Canary" is a scheming nightclub singer. Blackmailing is her game and with that she ends up dead. But who killed "the Canary". All the suspects knew and were used by her and everyone had a motive to see her dead. The only witness to the crime has also been 'rubbed out'. Only one man, the keen, fascinating, debonair detective Philo Vance, would be able to figure out who is the killer. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The story was based on the real-life murder of showgirl Dot King, which was never solved. See more »
In "The Greene Murder Case" (about 29 minutes in) someone mentions reading about "The Canary Murder Case". But, in "The Canary Murder Case" (about 21 minutes in) someone mentions that he hasn't seen Vance since "The Greene Murder Case". The studio may not have been sure which order the movies would be released when the dialog was written. See more »
1929's "The Canary Murder Case" was William Powell's second sound film, but his first in the role of S. S. Van Dine's debonair detective 'Philo Vance,' who uses psychology to ferret out the culprits alongside District Attorney Markham (E. H. Calvert) and Police Sergeant Ernest Heath (Eugene Palette). Completed as a silent then reworked for sound, Louise Brooks still contributes the standout performance, despite never returning to dub her part, having already been spurned by Paramount's promised pay raise (their subsequent blacklist of the actress only confirmed her worst suspicions about Hollywood). Golddigging showgirl 'The Canary' (Brooks) has her claws in several men (some of them married), but has selected wealthy young Jimmy Spottswoode (James Hall) to become her husband, despite the fact he is promised to Alice La Fosse (Jean Arthur), another showgirl. There is no shortage of suspects after the Canary is found strangled 17 minutes in, but with another hour to go, the limitations of early talkies make it a real chore to watch. Technically, silents were at their peak of efficiency when talkies arrived, only for Hollywood to stumble along in primitive fashion for at least two years beyond. This Feb 1929 release has the characters speak slowly, pausing in between lines, an unnatural style of acting that stretches the running time beyond endurance. Even Powell can't escape the trap, especially since the role of Vance hardly taxes him here. Jean Arthur gets shortchanged as well, barely registering in what amounts to a cameo, despite billing more prominent than Brooks' (she would return for the next Philo Vance feature, "The Greene Murder Case"). E. H. Calvert and Eugene Palette would be retained in all three Paramount Vances, the last being "The Benson Murder Case." Powell would leave Paramount for Warners by the time of his fourth and final entry as Vance, 1933's "The Kennel Murder Case," easily the best of them all (Warren William replaced Powell in the fifth, "The Dragon Murder Case").
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