The murders start with the body of Robin. He is found with a arrow through the heart, but Vance deduces that the body was placed and not found where he was killed. The note found dealing ... See full summary »
The murders start with the body of Robin. He is found with a arrow through the heart, but Vance deduces that the body was placed and not found where he was killed. The note found dealing with the murder was part of a nursery rhyme and signed by 'Bishop'. The only witness may have been Mrs. Drukker and Adolph, but they are not talking. As the murders progress, each one is accompanied by a nursery rhyme. It is up to Philo Vance to unravel the clues and unmask the identity of the murderer 'Bishop'. Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
Several times Roland Young's character sarcastically calls Basil Rathbone's investigator character "Sherlock Holmes". Nine years later Rathbone would take the role of Holmes and it became his iconic role. See more »
Zelda Sears is credited on-screen as playing "Mrs. Otto Drukker," but throughout the film she is called Miss Drucker and is referred to as the sister of Adolph Drukker, with no other Drukker in evidence (in particular, there is no Otto). This does, however, duplicate the name given in the "Cast of Characters" of the original book by S. S. Van Dine. (Although, in the book, she is listed as Adolph Drukker's mother.) See more »
A passable murder mystery, but with pitiful comedy and lots of red herrings.
Basil Rathbone makes a good Philo Vance in this murder mystery involving nursery rhymes. It's a forerunner of his great portrayal of Sherlock Holmes later in his career. He even uses his powers of observation to deduce that the sergeant (James Donlan) wrote a check that afternoon, soon has a date with a woman, etc., much the same way Holmes did, continually astounding Dr. Watson. But the comedy Donlan provides - and he's the only comic relief in the film - is on an infantile level. When he sees Rathbone for the first time, he says "I've solved this case, Mr. Vance. It's a murder." The script is really less than lacking in the humor department. On the other hand, all the other characters do not behave as stupid, and are believable in their roles. I loved the interesting faces and characterizations of George F. Marion and Charles Quartermaine. And there is one lovely photographed scene when Leila Hyams is sitting at a desk with a triple mirror when a sinister hand opens the door. You see her terrified face from four different angles at once, and it's a stunning effect.
This is the type of mystery that is virtually impossible to figure out. You have to go with the flow and watch the events unfold until the end when they are explained. There are lots of red herrings along the way, so I found myself switching from one suspect to another as the probable murderer. It was fun.
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