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The Kennel Murder Case (1933)

Philo Vance, accompanied by his prize-losing Scottish terrier, investigates the locked-room murder of a prominent and much-hated collector whose broken Chinese vase provides an important clue.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
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...
Raymond Wrede - the Secretary
Robert McWade ...
...
Frank Conroy ...
Etienne Girardot ...
James Lee ...
Liang - the Cook
...
Sir Thomas MacDonald (as Paul Cavanaugh)
Arthur Hohl ...
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...
Eduardo Grassi (as Jack LaRue)
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Storyline

Archer Coe has been found dead in his locked bedroom. The cops consider it suicide, but Philo believes otherwise. When the Coroner shows up, he finds that Archer had been hit with a blunt object, stabbed and shot - making suicide unlikely. When the evidence points to his brother, Brisbane is found stabbed to death in the closet. Archer had a number of enemies, any one of which would have been glad to knock him off, but which one did and how did the murder occur in a room looked from the inside. Only one man, the keen, fascinating, debonair detective Philo Vance, would be able to figure out who is the killer. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A beautiful debutante trapped in a house of hate...A glamorous stage star keeping a tryst with a "dead" man...A corpse walking upstairs to commit suicide...A wounded dog that knew the solution to the most baffling mystery ever tackled by the most fascinating sleuth since Sherlock Holmes! See more »

Genres:

Mystery

Certificate:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

28 October 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Il pugnale cinese  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Warner Brothers failed to renew this film's copyright, and as a result, it is now public domain. See more »

Goofs

The desk Sergeant taking the call at the station house about Archer Coe is wearing stripes, but has a patrolman's badge on. The Sergeant's badge is a different shape and larger. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Doremus: Sergeant, here's your order for removal of the body.
Detective Sgt. Heath: Thanks, Doc.
Dr. Doremus: So long. I want food.
Detective Sgt. Heath: Well, nobody's stoppin' yuh.
Dr. Doremus: And if you got any more corpses, bring 'em out now, will yuh? I can't be running up and down here all day!
Detective Sgt. Heath: Watta yuh mean running up and down all day with that swell car the city gave yuh?
Dr. Doremus: [With frustration as he leaves] Ugh!
Detective Sgt. Heath: [as the doctor's leaving] Nothing upsets the doctor clearly.
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Connections

Followed by Philo Vance Returns (1947) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Busy Whodunit
25 August 2002 | by (brighton, ma) – See all my reviews

For those who like their murder mysteries busy, this is definitely the one to see, as it is chock full of interesting and suspicious characters, most of them wealthy Long Island socialite types. As the star detective, William Powell is alternately starchy and inspired, behaving at times as if he and his suit went to the cleaners and got pressed together. Mary Astor is very lovely here.

Powell had made a career out of playing the lead character, Philo Vance, in a series of movies made at a couple of studios over several years. In-between these films he developed into a somewhat offbeat romantic lead, at times even essaying gentleman gangster roles. Already middle-aged, he was stuck in somewhat of a career rut by the time this one came along. As with so many early talkie stars, it seemed that his time had come and gone, that he was fine for early Depression Prohibition-era films, but that with changing times he was perhaps too mature and dandyish to endure.

The Kennel Murder Case, directed by the criminally neglected Michael Curtiz, is one of the last of the "old Powells", while the next year would herald in the first of the new ones, The Thin Man, the success of which would catapult its leading players into the Hollywood stratosphere. In Kennel we can see the movies still in a somewhat stiff, ritualized pattern, as the camera does not move much, with the acting, like the presentation, tending toward the theatrical. There's no harm in this approach, though, which has its charms. It gives the movie a baroque quality.


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