The murders start with the body of Robin. He is found with a arrow through the heart, but Vance deduces that the body was placed and not found where he was killed. The note found dealing with the murder was part of a nursery rhyme and signed by 'Bishop'. The only witness may have been Mrs. Drukker and Adolph, but they are not talking. As the murders progress, each one is accompanied by a nursery rhyme. It is up to Philo Vance to unravel the clues and unmask the identity of the murderer 'Bishop'.Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Vance and fellow detectives investigate the body of Robin, who has been shot with an arrow, the angle of the arrow changes. Sometimes it's straight up out of the body, other times it's at almost a 45 degree angle. See more »
[to Markham and Heath]
You know, gentlemen, this is no ordinary case. We cannot proceed in an ordinary manner. Mark my words, this is not a single murder that we are trying to solve. It is the beginning of a series of murders... ghastly and inhuman!
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This film is the 3rd of the Philo Vance mysteries to be filmed. The first two, Canary and Greene (filmed in 1929) were pretty hard going. They starred William Powell and he would return to star in the Benson Murder case and the best of the Vance series, The Kennel Murder Case. This one, starring Basil Rathbone is a step above the first two but it is still a static film as were many of that era......transitioning to sound was an awkward time for the movies and people talked, and talked, and talked, ad infinitum. Rathbone, a very attractive, suave actor fits the role well and he plays Vance as a little less of the high-brow, somewhat obnoxious character that was portrayed in VanDine's books. The mystery is another one of those typical Philo Vance puzzlers which never turn out as you thought they might but that is the fun of it all. It's interesting to see Roland Young in a role that is different from his usual movie persona. James Donlan, as Sgt. Heath is very irritating....nobody is that stupid and you wonder how he became a policeman, let alone a sergeant. I much prefer Eugene Palette from the William Powell/Vance films in that role. The rest of the supporting cast is adequate. You probably have to be a Vance devotee and a fan of early sound pictures to appreciate this film. Being both, I enjoyed it but would recommend The Kennel Murder Case for an introduction to Philo Vance. The series hit its stride with that film and then went downhill from there. Also, see The Canary Murder Case for historical film value as it was the last film made by the amazing Louise Brooks before she went on to cinema history in Germany. But, have fun with this movie...it is worth a look if you are a fan of the genre.
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