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William K. Howard,
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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 <email@example.com>
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 »
Got a gum?
[He is searched anyway]
[after Vance sits]
No, it's all in this letter to Markham.
[Vance starts to reach for the letter]
Keep your hand down. I'll take that!
[He takes the letter]
[...] See more »
Thus spake Paul Lukas during an uncharacteristic serious moment in this very entertaining, almost light-hearted entry in the Philo Vance canon, this one by MGM.
The play's the thing, right? That's what makes or breaks a movie for most of us - was it a good show or not? This was an excellent murder mystery, a mysterious mystery if you will, and it keeps you guessing until almost the final scene and defies you to figure out the identity of the murderer. There were lots of red herrings and the screenwriters take a few liberties with our credulity, but I thought that, on balance, this was one of the better murder mysteries to come out of Hollywood in the 30's, or any other period for that matter.
William Powell spoiled the Philo Vance character for us. He was so breezy and sophisticated that any other actor would pale in comparison. And Paul Lukas is a pale imitation, to be sure, try as he might. He lacks the suave and cocky air that Powell projected, plus he has an off-putting European accent. But MGM surrounded him with some of the best supporting and character actors available, among them Rosalind Russell, Donald Cook, Isabel Jewell, Eric Blore and the incomparable Allison Skipworth. They also threw in a dance scene at the Casino with "Blue Moon" as background music and with everyone in evening dress. It was, of course, dated but elegant nevertheless.
Remove Lukas and substitute anyone else and this is an 8 rating. As is, I give it a 7.
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