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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.

Director:

William Clemens

Writers:

Tom Reed (screenplay), S.S. Van Dine (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Stephenson ... Philo Vance
Margot Stevenson ... Hilda Lake
Henry O'Neill ... Markham
Edward Brophy ... Ryan
Sheila Bromley ... Doris
Ralph Forbes ... Tom McDonald
Donald Douglas ... Philip Wrede
Martin Kosleck ... Gamble
Jimmy Conlin Jimmy Conlin ... Dr. Doremus - Coroner (as Jimmy Conlon)
Edward Raquello ... Eduardo Grassi
Creighton Hale ... Du Bois - Fingerprint Man
Harry Strang ... Hennessey - Markham's Assistant
Richard Kipling Richard Kipling ... Archer Coe
Wedgwood Nowell ... Brisbane Coe
Bo Ling 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

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

3 February 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tres horas trágicas See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

This film's earliest documented telecasts took place in Tucson Friday 5 October 1956 on KDWI (Channel 9) and in Albuquerque Friday 12 October 1956 on KOAT (Channel 7); it first aired in Bloomington IN Monday 5 November 1956 on WTTV (Channel 4), in Salt Lake City Saturday 17 November 1956 on KUTV (Channel 2), in San Francisco Friday 7 December 1956 on KPIX (Channel 5), and in Honolulu Friday 10 May 1957 on KHVH (Channel 13). See more »

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

Follows 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 krorieSee 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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