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The Bishop Murder Case (1930) More at IMDbPro »


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S.S. Van Dine (from the book by)
Lenore J. Coffee (adaptation)
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Release Date:
3 January 1930 (USA) See more »
The finest of all S. S. Van Dine's murder mystery an all-talking picture! (original poster) See more »
When the body of a man nicknamed "Cock Robin" is found with an arrow in the heart on an archery range along with a chess bishop as a clue, Philo Vance investigates. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Only For The Philo Vance Devotee See more (19 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Basil Rathbone ... Philo Vance

Leila Hyams ... Belle Dillard

Roland Young ... Sigurd Arnesson
Alec B. Francis ... Professor Bertrand Dillard
George F. Marion ... Adolph Drukker
Zelda Sears ... Mrs. Otto Drukker
Bodil Rosing ... Grete Menzel
Carroll Nye ... John E. Sprigg
Charles Quatermaine ... John Pardee (as Charles Quartermaine)
James Donlan ... Ernest Heath
Sidney Bracey ... Pyne (as Sydney Bracey)

Clarence Geldart ... John F.-X. Markham
Delmer Daves ... Raymond Sperling
Nellie Bly Baker ... Beedle
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Richard Cramer ... Detective in Park (uncredited)
Frank Fanning ... Officer Manning (uncredited)
Marcia Mae Jones ... Hungry Child in Park (uncredited)
Broderick O'Farrell ... Dr. Van Pelt (uncredited)
Douglas Scott ... Child with Book in Park (uncredited)
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Directed by
David Burton (stage direction)
Nick Grinde (screen direction) (as Nick Grindé)
Writing credits
S.S. Van Dine (from the book by)

Lenore J. Coffee (adaptation, scenario and dialogue)

Original Music by
William Axt (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Roy F. Overbaugh (photographed by) (as Roy Overbaugh)
Film Editing by
William LeVanway (film editor)
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
Sound Department
Donald MacKenzie .... recording director (as Dr. Donald Mac Kenzie)
Frank McKenzie .... sound (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Henrietta Frazer .... wardrobe
Crew verified as complete

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
88 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric System)
USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:TV-G (TV rating)

Did You Know?

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 »
Miscellaneous: 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 »
Ernest Heath:Well, you know, Mr. Vance, I got nothin' against theories - except that you can't hang 'em!See more »
Movie Connections:
Waltz of the FlowersSee more »


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23 out of 23 people found the following review useful.
Only For The Philo Vance Devotee, 11 January 2002
Author: Bucs1960 from West Virginia

This film is the 3rd of the Philo Vance mysteries to be filmed. The first two, Canary and Greene (filmed in 1929) were pretty hard going. They starred William Powell and he would return to star in the Benson Murder case and the best of the Vance series, The Kennel Murder Case. This one, starring Basil Rathbone is a step above the first two but it is still a static film as were many of that era......transitioning to sound was an awkward time for the movies and people talked, and talked, and talked, ad infinitum. Rathbone, a very attractive, suave actor fits the role well and he plays Vance as a little less of the high-brow, somewhat obnoxious character that was portrayed in VanDine's books. The mystery is another one of those typical Philo Vance puzzlers which never turn out as you thought they might but that is the fun of it all. It's interesting to see Roland Young in a role that is different from his usual movie persona. James Donlan, as Sgt. Heath is very irritating....nobody is that stupid and you wonder how he became a policeman, let alone a sergeant. I much prefer Eugene Palette from the William Powell/Vance films in that role. The rest of the supporting cast is adequate. You probably have to be a Vance devotee and a fan of early sound pictures to appreciate this film. Being both, I enjoyed it but would recommend The Kennel Murder Case for an introduction to Philo Vance. The series hit its stride with that film and then went downhill from there. Also, see The Canary Murder Case for historical film value as it was the last film made by the amazing Louise Brooks before she went on to cinema history in Germany. But, have fun with this is worth a look if you are a fan of the genre.

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