IMDb > The Bishop Murder Case (1930)
The Bishop Murder Case
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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)
View company contact information for The Bishop Murder Case on IMDbPro.
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:
Elementary, my dear Vance! 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)

Directed by
David Burton (stage direction by)
Nick Grinde (screen direction by) (as Nick Grindé)
Writing credits
S.S. Van Dine (from the book by)

Lenore J. Coffee (adaptation, scenario and dialogue by)

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 by
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

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 »
Continuity: When the camera follows Carroll Nye to the left side of the rock in the park where he is murdered, there is obviously a cut before his head falls into camera range as the shadows change.See more »
Ernest Heath:[to Sperling, who is unresponsive] Well, young fella, you thought you'd get away, did yuh? Oh, you're one of those silent lads, are you? Say, we'll have you talkin' so much that lockjaw will look like a case of St. Vitus dance!See more »
Movie Connections:
Followed by Calling Philo Vance (1940)See more »
Waltz of the FlowersSee more »


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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
Elementary, my dear Vance!, 9 October 2007
Author: Gary170459 from Derby, UK

I found all of the Philo Vance films watchable, with the zippy and witty Kennel head and shoulders above the rest. Bishop was pretty good too but suffered from a cast of actors stuck in the silent era and displaying the full range of intensely melodramatic emotions that are were so essential to the making of – and enjoyment of watching a silent film. Static cameras are as nothing to tortured eyes and semaphore arm histrionics.

Mr. (Cock) Robin is found flat out murdered, apparently shot with an incredibly long arrow but Vance played by skinny and incisive Basil Rathbone knows better. He predicts a series of ghastly and inhuman murders will follow conceived by a intellect bent on playing games with his pursuers by couching his dastardly deeds in very handy nursery rhymes. He and one of the suspects, evergreen Roland Young are the only two to act naturally throughout, if still very slightly stagey. The photography is occasionally startlingly good, if still static. None of these criticisms bother me, I love it just the same as a well crafted atmospheric entertaining potboiler. Favourite bits: The scene in Dillard's library with the thunderstorm raging outside; the sedate and well-mannered way Vance and the cops enter Dillard's aerodrome of a house to search for the murderer.

I hadn't seen this since 1995, the last time UK Channel 4 gave anyone interested their opportunity to watch it. TCM UK unlike TCM US will never have room for it in their admirably varied schedule either (hem). But it's worth hunting down with all its faults for 90 minutes in the company of the world of 1929.

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