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Philo Vance Murder Case Collection


The Bishop Murder Case (1930)    The Kennel Murder Case (1933)       The Dragon Murder Case (1934)

 

 The Casino Murder Case (1935)                     The Garden Murder Case (1936)                Calling Philo Vance (1940)

 

The dilettante detective stylishly sleuths his way through some of his most famous cases in this 2-Disc, 6-Film Collection. And a veritable rogue’s gallery of golden age “gentlemen actors” all take a crack at Philo, including William Powell, Warren William and Basil Rathbone. Classic cinephiles should keep their eyes on the credits for contributions by luminaries the likes of Michael Curtiz, Mary Astor, Rosalind Russell and more! Includes: The Bishop Murder Case (1930), The Kennel Murder Case (1933), The Dragon Murder Case (1934), The Casino Murder Case (1935), The Garden Murder Case (1936), Calling Philo Vance (1940).

Posters

Theatrical Release: 1930-1940

Comments

Philo Vance started his movie career at Paramount in 1929 with 2 features - The Canary Murder Case (most famous for a dispute with Louise Brooks) and The Greene Murder Case starring William Powell as world-famous sleuth. Next year as William Powell was starring in Paramount's The Benson Murder Case and had a cameo in Paramount on Parade, over at MGM The Bishop Murder Case was filmed starring Basil Rathbone. The next adaptation of S. S. Van Dine's novel came from Warner, where William Powell reprises the role of Philo Vance for the last time on the big screen in The Kennel Murder Case. This is perhaps the best and most famous adaptation, readily available from a number of Public Domain releases. Philo Vance never had a single studio at once releasing the adaptations, so a number of films came out from Warner (The Dragon Murder Case with Warren William, Calling Philo Vance with James Stephenson), MGM (The Casino Murder Case with Paul Lukas, The Garden Murder Case with Edmund Lowe), Paramount (Night of Mystery with Grant Richards, The Gracie Allen Murder Case with Warren William). A British adaptation of The Scarab Murder Case was made in 1936 with Wilfred Hyde-White, but is considered lost. In 1947, the rights to the character went to a poverty row studio PRC and 3 original stories were made - Philo Vance's Gamble, Philo Vance Returns and Philo Vance's Secret Mission.

This collection from Warner Archive includes 6 films from MGM and Warner, with 6 different actors portraying Philo Vance. The supporting cast of character in these 6 films is impressive - Leila Hyams, Delmer Daves (who would become a reknowned director), Mary Astor, Eugene Pallette, Etienne Girardot, Margaret Lindsay, Lyle Talbot, Rosalind Russell, Louise Fazenda, Virginia Bruce, H.B. Warner, Margot Stevenson, Jimmy Conlin. Some of the characters (and actors) travel through different movies - District Attorney Markham, Coroner Dr. Doremus, Detective Ernest Heath. Calling Philo Vance starts like a wartime espionage thriller, but then turns into a remake of The Kennel Murder Case with a noir bend. All around, this is an excellent collection and we wish the remaining films from Paramount, now owned by Universal Studios, will get a proper release.

The 6 films in this collections are presented on three made-on-demand dual-layered discs, with 2 films on each disc. Films are showing wear-and-tear with many marks and specs and a few damaged frames; some of the transfers are too soft, like The Casino Murder Case. This is still the best presentation of The Kennel Murder Case - public domain transfers are usually soft-focused 16mm mess. The mono audio for the films is fine, although the early sound pictures show their age with some audible hiss, but it never becomes too pronounced to lessen the enjoyment of the films. Trailers for three latest films rounds off the collection, making it a recommendation for mystery aficionados.

  - Gregory Meshman

 

DVD Menus
 

 

directed by David Burton, Nick Grinde
USA 1930

 

Nine years before stepping into the role of Sherlock Holmes, Basil Rathbone essayed the character of S.S. Van Dyne's dilettante detective Philo Vance in The Bishop Murder Case. The murderer this time is a mysterious figure known only as "The Bishop." Plotting his killings in the systematic manner of a chess game, the Bishop tips off each of his crimes by sending the police cryptic messages in the form of nursery rhymes (his first victim, felled by an arrow, is referred to as "Cock Robin"). Heroine Belle Dillard (Leila Hyams) fears that the Bishop may be her own sweetheart, Sigurd Arnesson (Roland Young) -- indeed, that's what the police think as well -- but Philo Vance carefully puts the clues together to finger the actual culprit. With surprising foresightedness, several of the characters remark upon Vance's deductive skills by referring to him as "Sherlock." Well-directed, and with an imaginative use of "natural" sound in the exterior scenes, The Bishop Murder Case is ultimately laid low by its molasses-slow pacing, though things become moderately exciting when the heroine is kidnapped in the last reel.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Reviews                                         More Reviews                             DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner Home Video (The Philo Vance Murder Case Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:27:21
Video

1.20:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.41 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.20:1

Edition Details:
• 6 movies on 3 discs
• Theatrical trailer for The Casino Murder Case (2:43)
• Theatrical trailer for The Garden Murder Case (2:20)
• Theatrical trailer for Calling Philo Vance (0:50)

DVD Release Date: February 5th, 2013
3 discs in a keep case

Chapters 30

 

 


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 Damage

 

 


 

 


 


 

directed by Michael Curtiz
USA 1933

 

Often (and accurately) described as a model of the whodunit genre, The Kennel Murder Case stars William Powell, making his fourth screen appearance as S. S. Van Dine's dilettante detective Philo Vance. This time the story involves intrigue at the Long Island kennel club. The murder victim is Robert H. Barrat, who works overtime making himself a much-hated target in the first ten minutes. With the aid of a Doberman, Vance solves not only Barrat's murder but a follow-up killing designed to deflect attention from the killer. The suspects include Mary Astor, Ralph Morgan, Jack LaRue, Helen Vinson, Paul Cavanaugh and Arthur Hohl, all of whom have "done it" from time to time in other murder mysteries (movie buffs, however, will have little trouble spotting the killer; the person in question has probably been the hidden murderer in more films than any other member of the Screen Actor's Guild). Kennel Murder Case was William Powell's last "Philo Vance" film; it would be remade in 1940 as Calling Philo Vance, with James Stephenson as Vance and a new World War II angle added to the plot.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Theatrical Release: 28 October 1933 (USA)

Reviews                                       More Reviews                                 DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner Home Video (The Philo Vance Murder Case Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:13:00
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Audio Dolby Digital Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• 6 movies on 3 discs

DVD Release Date:
3 discs in a keep case

Chapters 24

  


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


 

directed by H. Bruce Humberstone
USA 1934

 

Warren William delivers a curiously subdued performance as dilettante sleuth Philo Vance in The Dragon Murder Case. The plot centers around a mysterious "dragon pool" on the Stamm estate, which figures prominently in the deaths of several unsympathetic society types. As usual, Inspector Markham (Robert McWade) and Sergeant Heath (Eugene Pallette) are all for snapping the cuffs on the most obvious suspect, but Philo Vance knows full well that appearances are deceiving. The all-suspect cast includes Margaret Lindsay, Lyle Talbot, Helen Lowell, Dorothy Tree, Robert Barrat and George Meeker, many of whom thoughtfully remove themselves from suspicion by getting killed themselves. Not a particularly mysterious mystery, The Dragon Murder Case works better on a melodramatic level, with some genuinely spooky camerawork courtesy of the ever-reliable Tony Gaudio.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Theatrical Release: 25 August 1934 (USA)

Reviews                            More Reviews                               DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner Home Video (The Philo Vance Murder Case Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:06:26
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.88 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• 6 movies on 3 discs

DVD Release Date:
3 discs in a keep case

Chapters 18

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


 

directed by Edwin L. Marin
USA 1935

 

S. S. Van Dine's intelligent, insufferable amateur sleuth Philo Vance is the protagonist of The Casino Murder Case. Paul Lukas plays Vance, who is brought to the mansion of a wealthy, eccentric widow (Alison Skipworth) by a mysterious unsigned letter. Several murders are committed in the elderly woman's home, with the evidence pointing to various red herrings before the truth is revealed. Rosalind Russell plays the old lady's secretary (and Vance's object of affections); Eric Blore is Vance's droll valet; and Ted Healy is the obnoxious Sgt. Heath, ever willing to slap the cuffs on the wrong person.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Theatrical Release: 15 March 1935 (USA)

Reviews                                           More Reviews                                     DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner Home Video (The Philo Vance Murder Case Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:22:18
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.89 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Audio Dolby Digital Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• 6 movies on 3 discs
• Theatrical trailer (2:43)

DVD Release Date:
3 discs in a keep case

Chapters 26

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


 

directed by Edwin L. Marin
USA 1936

 

Edmund Lowe made his only screen appearance as S. S. Van Dine's dilettante sleuth Philo Vance in The Garden Murder Case. The story wastes no time getting started, with Floyd Garden (Douglas Walton) being killed in the first reel from a fall in a steeplechase. It looks like an accident -- but then, so do the subsequent deaths of Lowe Hammle (Gene Lockhart) and Mrs. Fenwick-Ralston (Frieda Inescourt). The police are baffled, but Philo Vance (Lowe) deduces that the victims were done in by a very clever -- and very deadly -- hypnotist. The revelation of the killer's identity won't be surprising to longtime mystery buffs, but it proved quite a shock to audiences in 1936. The tense final scene, in which the murder attempts to mesmerize Vance into committing suicide, was effective enough to be "borrowed" for the 1946 Sherlock Holmes film The Woman in Green.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Theatrical Release: 21 February 1936 (USA)

Reviews                             More Reviews                           DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner Home Video (The Philo Vance Murder Case Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:00:42
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.85 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical trailer (2:20)

DVD Release Date:
3 discs in a keep case

Chapters 26

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


 

directed by William Clemens
USA 1940

 

Calling Philo Vance is a perfunctory remake of 1933's The Kennel Murder Case, which many aficionados consider the best of the "Vance" films. James Stephenson plays the titular gentleman sleuth, who must solve the murder of the inventor of a revolutionary new bombsight (the original film concerned a championship dog race). The principal suspect is the victim's brother, who is taken out of the running when he, too, is bumped off. The actual killer is in the employ of an unnamed foreign government-and, in the tradition of Kennel Murder Case, is also the least suspicious and most cooperative of the suspects. With Calling Philo Vance, mystery novelist S. S. Van Dine's dilettante detective bade farewell to the screen for seven years, returning in 1947 through the facilities of low-budget PRC Pictures.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Theatrical Release: 27 January 1940 (Los Angeles, CA)

Reviews                               More Reviews                              DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Warner Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:02:12
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.85 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Audio Dolby Digital Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• 6 movies on 3 discs
• Theatrical Trailer (0:50)

DVD Release Date:
3 discs in a keep case

Chapters 19

 


Screen Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

 

 




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