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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 ...
Robert Barrat ...
Frank Conroy ...
Etienne Girardot ...
James Lee ...
Liang - the Cook
...
Sir Thomas MacDonald (as Paul Cavanaugh)
Arthur Hohl ...
Helen Vinson ...
...
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

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Release Date:

28 October 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Il pugnale cinese  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Powell's last appearance as Philo Vance. See more »

Goofs

The police break down the door to get to the body in the study. The next day Philo demonstrates how the door was locked from the outside after the murder, but the door showed no signs of being broken and it is unrealistic to expect it to be fixed so quickly. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Doremus: [Referring to the corpse] There couldn't have been much of a struggle. His hair isn't even mussed.
Detective Sgt. Heath: Maybe somebody slugged him and then combed his hair.
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Connections

Followed by Philo Vance's Secret Mission (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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