Friday, January 6, 2017

Friday's Film Adaptions: The Gracie Allen Murder Case by SS Van Dine


Summary:
In this delightful outing, SS Van Dine introduces his re-life friend, comedienne Gracie Allen, into a Philo Vance mystery.  The setting is New York City, but far from Philo Vance's typical milieu of Chinese antiquities, rare books, and esoteric studies.  A peculiarly diabolical murder is solved through Vance's expert knowledge of rare perfumes and the invaluable assistance lent by Gracie, whose sweetheart, George Burns, is head perfume-smeller at the In-O-Scent Perfume Corporation.

"Gracie helps to expose a murder with the same inspired silliness that has made her fame over the air.  Van Dine fans will enjoy him in this new role of humorist." -- Book of the Month Club News(1938)



Film
The zany plot follows nitwit Gracie Allen trying to help master sleuth Philo Vance solve a murder. Allen's uncle fixes her up with Bill at a company picnic. When the two go out to a nightclub that night, Gracie inadvertently links Bill to the murder of a thug after finding the dead body and Bill's cigarette case at the scene of the crime. While being questioned at the club, she meets Vance who's investigating the homicide. After Gracie's bungled attempts to solve the case, Vance decides it might be easier to have her working with him. Despite Gracie's "help," the two eventually find the real killer.

Release Date:  June 2, 1939
Release Time: 78 minutes

Cast:
Gracie Allen as Gracie Allen
Warren William as Philo Vance
Ellen Drew as Ann Wilson
Kent Taylor as Bill Brown
Judith Barrett as Dixie Del Marr
Donald MacBride as Dist. Atty. John Markham
Jed Prouty as Uncle Ambrose
Jerome Cowan as Daniel Mirche
H. B. Warner as Richard Lawrence
William Demarest as Police Sgt. Ernest Heath
Sam Lee as Thug
Al Shaw as Thug
Richard Denning as Fred
Irving Bacon as Hotel Clerk

Author Bio:
S. S. Van Dine is the pseudonym used by American art critic Willard Huntington Wright (October 15, 1888 – April 11, 1939) when he wrote detective novels. Wright was an important figure in avant-garde cultural circles in pre-World War I New York, and under the pseudonym (which he originally used to conceal his identity) he created the once immensely popular fictional detective Philo Vance, a sleuth and aesthete who first appeared in books in the 1920s, then in movies and on the radio.


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