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Ellery Queen, Master Detective (1940)

Approved | | Adventure, Crime, Drama | 30 November 1940 (USA)
Famed detective and crime novelist Ellery Queen solves a case involving the suspicious death of a rich man whose inheritors fight over his estate.


Kurt Neumann


Frederic Dannay (story) (as Ellery Queen), Manfred Lee (story) (as Ellery Queen) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview:
Ralph Bellamy ... Ellery Queen
Margaret Lindsay ... Nikki Porter
Charley Grapewin ... Insp. Queen
James Burke ... Sgt. Velle
Michael Whalen ... Dr. James Rogers
Marsha Hunt ... Barbara Braun
Fred Niblo ... John Braun
Charles Lane ... Dr. Prouty
Ann Shoemaker ... Lydia Braun
Marion Martin ... Cornelia
Douglas Fowley ... Rocky Taylor
Morgan Wallace ... Zachary
Byron Foulger ... Amos
Katherine DeMille ... Valerie Norris


The mysteriously ill John Braun makes a new will, leaving out his daughter Barbara, over the protests of his wife. The trouble began when the daughter wanted to marry Mr. Braun's doctor, James Rogers. Mrs. Braun asks Inspector Queen to help find the long-missing Barbara. The inspector's son, Ellery, works on the case. He goes to a home frequently visited by Dr. Rogers where the bell is answered by Nikki Porter who Ellery mistakes for Barbara and insists she return to the Braun home. Nikki does, to protect Barbara, and a short time later finds herself alone in a room outside Braun's bedroom. She finds him dead - his throat cut. No weapons are found and the door to the room where Nikki had been is locked, and she is suspected. Ellery hides Nikki in his apartment. Braun's body, sent for an autopsy, disappears and in its place is a life-sized statue of the dead man. Elley finds the body in a closet, the police prepare to send it downtown but someone drives off with the ambulance. Ellery, ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


HE'S ON THE SCREEN NOW! (original poster-all caps)


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The Film Daily - Hollywood - Tuesday, Feb. 20, 1940: Producer Larry Darmour has closed on the film rights to more than 30 "Ellery Queen" mystery novels and the weekly transcontinental radio broadcasts. He has exclusive picture rights for three years and will make two or three pictures a year, possibly for distribution by Columbia Pictures Corporation. See more »


Ellery Queen: You are not much of a talker... for a woman.
Nikki Porter: The company, no doubt, for a private dectetive, you are rather dull.
See more »


Followed by A Desperate Chance for Ellery Queen (1942) See more »

User Reviews

An 'impossible' crime!
7 February 2014 | by binapiraeusSee all my reviews

Now THERE's a mystery if ever there was one: John Braun, who's always been the perfectly healthy and athletic model for his fitness enterprise, learns that he's incurably ill - and changes his will the next day, disinheriting his family and leaving everything to his company. His daughter's friend Nikki goes to his home to talk to him right after he's signed the will and locked himself up in his study. She waits in the anteroom - and soon finds out that she can't get out, because the other door is locked as well; and when they finally manage to open the door, they find Braun sitting at his desk, stabbed, and both the will and the murder weapon missing - which leaves Nikki as the ONLY person who could have committed the murder...

In this third 'Ellery Queen' mystery, Ralph Bellamy for the first time plays the police detective's son, writer, and hobby sleuth; and he does quite well, although he isn't quite as charming and funny as Donald Cook in the first one - he's more the serious, clever, and slightly ironic type. But the center of attraction (in every way) is Margaret Lindsay as Nikki, who is TRAPPED in every sense of the word...

This is one of the movies to which should be added 'Don't tell the ending to anyone!' - because it REALLY takes a crime film or novel expert to solve the case. Classic murder mystery at its best here!

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Release Date:

30 November 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

John Braun's Body See more »

Filming Locations:

Hollywood, California, USA

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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