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 ... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
S.S. Van Dine wrote the Gracie Allen Murder Case in 1938 to introduce his real life friend, Gracie Allen, into a Philo Vance Murder Mystery. George Burns made a appearance in the novel as the head perfume-smeller at the In-O-Scent Perfume Corporation, but is not in the movie version of the novel. 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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