In 1917 Lt. Bill Gordon is headed for France when he meets and becomes friendly with Joel Carter, niece of the Asst. Secretary of War. Finding out that he is an expert on codes, she gets ... See full summary »
William K. Howard,
A divorced socialite decides to join the Army because she hopes it will enable her to see more of her boyfriend, a Colonel. She soon encounters many difficulties with the Army lifestyle. ... See full summary »
Norman Z. McLeod
Robert will do anything to get the big account that has eluded him. His public relations business makes public angels of rich scoundrels. Jean needs someone to save the paper and she wants ... See full summary »
Olivia de Havilland,
Andrew Manson, a young, enthusiastic doctor takes his first job in a Welsh mining town, and begins to wonder at the persistent cough many of the miners have. When his attempts to prove its ... See full summary »
Mimi has tried everything to become the bride to Alan, but he chooses Elizabeth instead. The ironic part is that Mimi's mother writes romance novels and neither one has had any luck with ... See full summary »
Publisher Martin Jamison sends for Philo Vance as he wants to hire him as a technical advisor on the crime stories he publishes. Paul Morgan, Morgan's partner, regards the plan as foolish. ... See full summary »
When Philo Vance receives a note that harm will befall Lynn at the casino that night, he takes the threat seriously while the DA dismisses it. At the casino owned by Uncle Kinkaid, Lynn is indeed poisoned under the watchful eye of Philo. However, he recovers, but the same cannot be said for Lynn's wife Virginia, who is at the family home. Only a family member could have poisoned Lynn and Virginia and everyone has their dark motives. Philo will follow the clues and find the perpetrator. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Virgina is poisoned, the doctor who examined her states that her pupils were dilated so much that he could barely see the retinas. The retina is a membrane in the back of the eye. He meant that he could barely see the iris. The iris is the colored part of the eye in which the pupil exists. A doctor should have known the difference between the iris and the retina. See more »
Yes, we must discover the wrong direction in order to discover the right.
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This is the eighth Philo Vance mystery film, and the only one starring Paul Lukas as Vance. Under the influence of the first 'Thin Man' film, which came out the year before, the Philo Vance series here has undergone a drastic image 'makeover', to try to emulate the new William Powell series and compete with it. Suddenly everybody has a butler and there are lots of servants running around, grand surroundings, and an air of opulence previously entirely lacking from this series. The producers realized that William Powell's new series enjoyed popularity partially because of these factors, which provided audiences with an enjoyable fantasy of affluence in the wake of the horrible Great Depression. The producers obviously had not previously considered this factor, and were forced to raise their budget to accommodate better sets. This Vance film suffers from the replacement of Didier Girardot as the coroner with a truly irritating grumpy old man (Charles Sellon), so that the comic elements of the character of the coroner are entirely lost. Another ill-advised replacement was eliminating fog-horn-voiced Eugene Palette as Sergeant Heath and replacing him with an oafish actor (Ted Healy) who makes that character also lose his effectiveness by becoming completely ridiculous, and the whole thing is entirely misjudged as far as those two regular characters are concerned. Clearly, the 'freshening up' exercise and its 'new broom' were entirely destructive there. Paul Lukas is always a very congenial and watchable actor, and it is good to have a Vance film with him in it. He is very sophisticated and his slight Hungarian accent, which goes unexplained in the story of course, adds that touch of cosmopolitanism which always benefits characters such as Philo Vance. Lukas is a much warmer Vance than Powell, Rathbone, or William were, but less mischievous than Powell and less humorous than William. The plot of this film is immensely complex, with numerous red herrings. People keep getting killed, but how and why? The poison cannot be detected in the internal organs in autopsies, and yet people are being poisoned. This is eventually explained by the poison being mandragora administered in eye drops. Beat that! However one victim is not poisoned. Is it suicide or murder? The plot thickens, and thickens, and thickens, until it ends up as clotted cream. The film is very stylish and amusing, has a challenging plot, and is a successful Vance film. It is a pity that Lukas vanishes in the next one. All these Vances, who can keep up with them? This film is greatly lightened-up by the sparkling appearance of Rosalind Russell as the female lead. She always added that something extra to any film she was in. She and Lukas go for each other in a big way, and this is a conscious production decision to inject some romance into the series. Alison Skipworth swings her great bulk about with great authority as a domineering matriarch in this film, and is most amusing, though one wouldn't want to be related to her. When she turns around, it is like an ocean liner being pulled by tugboats. Leo G. Carroll appears as a rather silent and dour butler, whom one is meant to suspect as one of the many potential villains in the story. He retains an impeccable air of ambiguity to facilitate this false lead. This film perhaps marks a slight ad-Vance.
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