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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 ... 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:

Philo Vance Comes Back 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

All the scenes involving the two murdered men are taken directly from the 1933 mystery called "The Kennel Murder Case", in which William Powell played Philo Vance. In both movies, most of the dialog in the scenes pertaining to the murders and the investigation is exactly the same, word-for-word, which clearly indicates that the script from the 1933 film was adapted to the story for this film, which focuses on the thief of secret aircraft plans. However, in "The Kennel Murder Case", the plot pertains to stolen Chinese art objects. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Avery: [Referring to Vance's secret mission] ... and you understand the American government must not enter into this.
Philo Vance: I know. If I'm caught, I shall be a man without a country.
Avery: More than that, Vance. Possibly also a man without a head!
Philo Vance: Hmmm, not an amusing thought, your excellency.
See more »

Connections

Follows The Casino Murder Case (1935) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Happy About the Whole Thing
(uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played when Vance and Ryan meet Grassi in the bar
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Well, if you had to remake one of the Philo Vance movies...
1 February 2014 | by utgard14See all my reviews

The Kennel Murder Case was the highlight of the Philo Vance movie series. This film is a remake of that, updated to fit World War II with an espionage theme. James Stephenson makes a poor Philo Vance. He talks through his nose the whole time, which I found annoying. Supporting cast isn't bad. Includes great character actors Edward Brophy and Henry O'Neill. There is one scene where Brophy is supposed to knock open a door. He bumps into it with his shoulder twice with no result. Then he kicks it and his foot awkwardly knocks out a part of the door without actually kicking it open. Whether this was intentional or not I do not know but it sure looked like a goof. A cheapie like this wouldn't have done multiple takes if they could help it. Margot Stevenson plays the part Mary Astor played in the original. She speaks breathlessly and acts weakly. The best thing about the film for me are the Warner sets and backlot. It's a watchable film. Not a patch on the original and very flawed, but passable.


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