The zany plot follows nitwit Gracie Allen trying to help master sleuth Philo Vance solve a murder. Allen's uncle fixes her up with Bill at a company picnic. When the two go out to a ...
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The zany plot follows nitwit Gracie Allen trying to help master sleuth Philo Vance solve a murder. Allen's uncle fixes her up with Bill at a company picnic. When the two go out to a nightclub that night, Gracie inadvertently links Bill to the murder of a thug after finding the dead body and Bill's cigarette case at the scene of the crime. While being questioned at the club, she meets Vance who's investigating the homicide. After Gracie's bungled attempts to solve the case, Vance decides it might be easier to have her working with him. Despite Gracie's "help," the two eventually find the real killer. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A longtime fan of comedians George Burns and Gracie Allen, 'Philo Vance' creator S. S. Van Dine wrote a tailor-made screenplay for the team, which emerged on-screen as 'The Gracie Allen Murder Case'. George Burns suggested his character be eliminated, leaving scatterbrained Gracie on her own to match wits with urbane private detective Philo Vance. The character Burns would have played was rewritten for Kent Taylor. Despite his on-screen absence, Burns was on set every day cheering on his wife. See more »
Everyone dislikes this picture. Especially George Burns, who had the good sense not to appear in it. (His part was re-written to accommodate Kent Taylor). Gracie, of course, was stuck. Her good friend, S.S. Van Dine, had written the novel just for her. So who else could play the title role? ZaSu Pitts? Billie Burke? Perhaps Alice Brady might have given it a twirl had she not gone all serious in In Old Chicago.
Well, actually, on approaching the movie a second time, I found it not so bad after all. Not riotously funny, mind, but tolerably entertaining at worst and quite enjoyable at best. The climax is even reasonably suspenseful.
Production values generally come well up to the mark. The support cast is great. Warren William (who played Vance in 1934's Dragon Murder Case) makes a delightful straight man, Ellen Drew impresses as the heroine, H.B. Warner has a grand time as the lawyer, and it's hard to ignore Jerome Cowan as the slimy Mirche.
Aside from its over-extended, hands-on fade-out, Green's direction has enough pace to overcome most of Gracie's flat-footed business and dialogue. And although we are blinded by an outpouring of light every time the camera focuses on the said Miss Allen, photographer Charles Lang does manage more than a few pleasingly atmospheric effects.
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