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Calling Philo Vance (1940)

Approved | | Crime, Mystery, Thriller | 3 February 1940 (USA)
Despite an exclusive contract with the U.S. government, designer Archer Coe's design is being bid on by German, Japanese, and Italian agents - until he's murdered.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Certificate: Passed Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Two people with ties to rich murdered socialite Lowe Hammle die from unusual suicides but Vance suspects hypnosis and foul play.

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When the body of a man nicknamed "Cock Robin" is found with an arrow in the heart on an archery range along with a chess bishop as a clue, Philo Vance investigates.

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After socialite Lynn Llewwllen receives an anonymous threat, he is poisoned at his uncle's casino, and although he recovers, his wife is murdered by the same killer.

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Mystery
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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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The Stann family gives a small party prior to daughter Bernice's marriage to socialite Monty, but all of the guests seem to be against the match.

Director: H. Bruce Humberstone
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A ruthless, crooked stockbroker is murdered at his luxurious country estate, and detective Philo Vance just happens to be there; he decides to find out who killed him.

Director: Frank Tuttle
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Comedy | Mystery
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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 ... See full summary »

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Drama | Mystery
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At the end of each year, the extremely wealthy but odious Greene family gets together at the spooky old family castle to establish terms of a will, though they despise each other. This year... See full summary »

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Mystery
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Philo goes after a gang of murderous jewel thieves.

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A beautiful showgirl, name "the Canary" is a scheming nightclub singer. Blackmailing is her game and with that she ends up dead. But who killed "the Canary". All the suspects knew and were ... See full summary »

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Mystery
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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 »

Director: Reginald Le Borg
Stars: Alan Curtis, Sheila Ryan, Tala Birell
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Margot Stevenson ...
Henry O'Neill ...
...
...
...
...
Philip Wrede
...
Jimmy Conlin ...
Dr. Doremus - Coroner (as Jimmy Conlon)
Edward Raquello ...
...
Du Bois - Fingerprint Man
...
Richard Kipling ...
Wedgwood Nowell ...
Bo Ling ...
Ling Toy
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Storyline

Philo is in Vienna working for the US Government to see if Archer Coe is selling aircraft designs to foreign powers. He grabs the plans with Archer's signature, but is captured by police before he can escape. Deported he comes back to America and plans to confront Archer, but Archer is found dead in his locked bedroom with a gun in his hand. While it looks like a suicide, Vance knows better and the coroner finds that Archer has been shot, hit with a blunt instrument and stabbed - making suicide unlikely. But Vance is on the case and is looking to see if government secrets have been sold and who has murdered Coe. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

3 February 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tres horas trágicas  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

Ralph Forbes is credited onscreen as "Tom MacDonald," but throughout the film, he is called Taylor MacDonald. See more »

Quotes

Ryan: [as they are entering the front doo] By the way, Philo, how was the weiner schnitzel over there?
Philo Vance: Hmmm, mostly bread and water!
See more »

Connections

Remake of The Kennel Murder Case (1933) See more »

Soundtracks

An der schönen, blauen Donau (On the Beautiful Blue Danube), Op.314
(1867) (uncredited)
Music by Johann Strauss
Whistled by Edward Brophy
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Fair Entry in The Philo Vance Series
22 August 2005 | by (Van Buren, Arkansas) – See all my reviews

The Philo Vance murder mystery series was entertaining and worthwhile but had one serious problem, the actor playing the lead role of Philo Vance kept changing from movie to movie. This was not true of other successful series such as Basil Rathbone's Sherlock Holmes and Chester Morris' Boston Blackie. By far the most competent actor in the role was the indomitable William Powell, who starred in not only the best one of the Philo Vance films but a movie classic "The Kennel Murder Case." Alas, he was too good and went on to bigger and better roles, in particular the Thin Man series. What we get with "Calling Philo Vance" is James Stephenson, who makes a pleasant enough Philo Vance but he is certainly no William Powell. On the other hand, the supporting cast is equal to and sometimes even better than the supporting cast in "The Kennel Murder Case." "Calling Philo Vance" is a reworking of the "Kennel Murder Case," updating the story to involve espionage (Hitler invaded Poland the year before this movie was released). Other than the spy angle and having Philo a government agent rather than a P.I. there is not much change. The story still involves the intriguing idea of having a murder committed in a sealed and locked room. A few of the scenes are shot verbatim from the original. So why watch this one if you can get hold of the original, which is a superior film? I'm a Philo Vance fan. So I enjoyed this one too.


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