The Kennel Murder Case
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.