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Kennel Murder Case
     

The Kennel Murder Case

3.0 1
Director: Michael Curtiz

Cast: William Powell, Mary Astor, Eugene Pallette

 

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It was in late 2002 that the main crop of old public domain titles began showing up on low-priced DVD, and one of the very best of those is The Kennel Murder Case. A perennial favorite on public domain videocassette, this is one of the best mysteries of the 1930's, a finely woven mixture of who-done-it and comedy, set in New York's upper crust. Plot highlights

Overview

It was in late 2002 that the main crop of old public domain titles began showing up on low-priced DVD, and one of the very best of those is The Kennel Murder Case. A perennial favorite on public domain videocassette, this is one of the best mysteries of the 1930's, a finely woven mixture of who-done-it and comedy, set in New York's upper crust. Plot highlights include an apparent suicide that is not only really a murder, but also connected to a second killing, with more than a dozen possible suspects with motive and opportunity, all of it tied to the victims' connections to a group of show dogs and their owner. Alpha was lucky enough to get it out first on DVD, and we're fortunate that they had a decent source. Not perfect, by any means -- there are missing frames and breaks in the audio at various points, and the faces in some of the shots are almost whited out, a result of too much light being pumped through a print that would otherwise be too dark; yet, at 29 minutes into the disc, we come upon a reel that looks as good as a standard Warner Bros. TV transfer of the 1960's. As it's unlikely that Warner Bros. (which made the movie) will ever issue it on DVD, one has to take what one can get, and this isn't bad, especially for $6 list. Fans of Michael Curtiz (Casablanca etc.) will love this disc, because for all of its flaws, it does show off the grace of his direction -- this picture unfolds smoothly and in a lovingly cinematic fashion, employing such techniques as swish-pans and other filmic devices to advance the story. The glitches don't really interfere with the appreciation of the virtues, and the sound, when it isn't marred by drop-outs, is loud and full. A movie like this does deserve more than five chapter breaks, but that doesn't seem too likely to happen in the budget category.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Richard Gilliam
The Kennel Murder Case was the fifth film in the Philo Vance series, but it's easily the best of the bunch, and it proved influential in encouraging the production of other intricate, challenging mystery films. Directed with crispness and efficiency by the reliable Michael Curtiz, the film is a good example of the high production standards of Warner Bros. in its post-silent era. The script is a solid whodunit packed with interesting characters, well-performed and impeccably cast. Much of the verbosity of S. S. Van Dine's novel is missing from Kennel Murder Case, making for a briskly told story.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/30/2002
UPC:
0089218316691
Original Release:
1933
Rating:
NR
Source:
Alpha Video
Presentation:
[B&W]
Time:
1:13:00
Sales rank:
12,024

Special Features

[None specified]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
William Powell Philo Vance
Mary Astor Hilda Lake
Eugene Pallette Sgt. Ernest Heath
Ralph Morgan Raymond Wrede
Helen Vinson Doris Delafield
Etienne Girardot Dr. Doremus
Jack LaRue Eduardo Grassi
Paul Cavanagh Sir Thomas MacDonald
Robert H. Barrat Archer Coe
Henry O'Neill Dubois
Robert McWade District Attorney John F.X. Markham
Frank Conroy Brisbane Coe
Spencer Charters Snitkin
Charles Wilson Hennessey
Jimmy Lee Liang, the Cook
Harry Allen Sandy, the Dog Trainer
Wade Boteler Sergeant
Don Brodie Photographer
James Burke Cop
George Chandler Reporter
Milt Kibbee Charlie Adler, Reporter
Monte Vandergrift Detective
Leo White Desk Clerk
Arthur Hohl Gamble, the Butler

Technical Credits
Michael Curtiz Director
Leo F. Forbstein Musical Direction/Supervision
Orry Kelly Costumes/Costume Designer
Robert N. Lee Screenwriter
Ed N. McLarmin Editor
Harold McLernon Editor
Peter Milne Screenwriter
Jack Okey Art Director
Orry-Kelly Costumes/Costume Designer
Robert R. Presnell Producer,Screenwriter
William Rees Cinematographer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Play [14:51]
2. Chapter 1 [15:16]
3. Chapter 2 [13:45]
4. Chapter 3 [16:37]
5. Chapter 4 [12:27]

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The Kennel Murder Case 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being a mystery fan, I always like to see as many classic mystery films as I can. I came across this one, a while ago. Until now, I didn't realize that William Powell had made 3 previous Philo Vance movies. If you love mysteries, this "locked-room" whodunnit is great. Plenty of clues and red herrings galore. It's a typical period piece, complete with many mystery cliche characters, including the prim and proper butler, the asian servant, the shady business partner, et al.. It gets a little confusing at times, but I enjoyed William Powell. His take on Vance is definately different, a bit more serious if you will, than his later stint as Nick Charles. But the mystery is the fun part, so if you like classic puzzlers, give this one a shot, I'm sure you'll enjoy it!