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The Gracie Allen Murder Case (1939)

Approved | | Comedy, Mystery | 2 June 1939 (USA)
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 »

Director:

Alfred E. Green

Writers:

Nat Perrin (screenplay), S.S. Van Dine (based on the book by)
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Philo Vance investigates a series of murders among members of the Greene family, in this remake.

Director: Ewald André Dupont
Stars: Grant Richards, Roscoe Karns, Helen Burgess
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Cast

Cast overview:
Gracie Allen ... Gracie Allen
Warren William ... Philo Vance
Ellen Drew ... Ann Wilson
Kent Taylor ... Bill Brown
Judith Barrett ... Dixie Del Marr
Donald MacBride ... Dist. Atty. John Markham
Jed Prouty ... Uncle Ambrose
Jerome Cowan ... Daniel Mirche
H.B. Warner ... Richard Lawrence
William Demarest ... Police Sgt. Ernest Heath
Sam Lee Sam Lee ... Thug (as Sammy Lee)
Al Shaw Al Shaw ... Thug
Richard Denning ... Fred
Irving Bacon ... Hotel Clerk
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Storyline

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 <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Mystery

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 June 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Comédia de um Crime See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

Maitre d': I'll get you a waiter right away.
Gracie Allen: Make it two. I'm starved.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits show a grist mill. Each of the paddles has a character name and the actor who portrays him; the other credits are listed against a background of the nearby web rocks. See more »

Connections

Follows The Bishop Murder Case (1929) See more »

Soundtracks

Snug as a Bug in the Rug
Music by Matty Malneck
Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Sung by Gracie Allen
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not so bad after all!
6 March 2007 | by JohnHowardReidSee all my reviews

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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