The Kennel Murder Case, A Keen, Kanine Kinetic, Killing Kind of Movie, With a Tasty Kernel Named Vance; Happy Anniversary!

Kennel Murder Case


What could be better than Philo Vance, the suave, debonair, fascinating, intelligent, erudite detective portrayed by the suave, debonair, fascinating, intelligent, erudite actor, William Powell? Little can best the seventy-three minutes spent with this gem of a mystery based on the novel written of course by S. S. Van Dine, adapted by Robert Presnell Sr., with the screenplay by Robert N. Lee and Peter Milne.

Let us add in that Michael Curtiz directed this Warner Bros. production, a late summer project prepping for an autumn release.[1] The movie had straight-forward cinematography by William Rees, with deft editing by Harold McLernon. And not to forget the rest of the cast of characters that support Powell so wonderfully: the always striking beauty that was Mary Astor (a mellifluous voice), Eugene Pallette, Ralph Morgan, James Lee, Paul Cavanagh and Helen Vinson.

As I brought out the casebook on this film, I realized I did not want to rehash what others have discovered or what is readily apparent. So, on the surface all seems as it should be with, The Kennel Murder Case, but a few salient clues of this project need further investigation; such as the fact that Barney (Chick) McGill worked as a cinematographer on Kennel, along with Ken Green handling some camera-work.[2] As well, George Blackwell is missing from the in front of the camera list; he was added in July to the cast of actors, obviously uncredited and is mentioned more than by one source.[3] Further examination, reveals that, The Kennel Murder Case, did not have a hard and fast opening, so even though we celebrate today, because of the official studio release date of October 28, 1933, our congratulations are a little belated; New York City and Ogden, Utah, saw the film on Thursday, October 26.[4]


The Ogden Standard-Examiner, Wednesday, October 25, 1933


And as was not completely uncommon for the 1920’s and 1930’s, the movie was cross-promoted, when the novel was serialized in newspapers across the country.[5]


The Kansas City Star, Sunday, October 22, 1933


This movie is not hard to find and is seen on TCM on a regular basis and may be had on DVD for just a few bucks, from numerous online retailers. Enjoy the kindly kept keeper of knowledge, Philo Vance and The Kennel Murder Case.


By C. S. Williams


[1] Manitowoc Herald-Times (Manitowoc, Wisconsin) August 14, 1933

[2] International Photographer, August, 1933

[3] Film Daily, July 20, 1933

[4] Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) October 25, 1933

Ogden Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah) October 25, 1933

[5] Film Daily, September 23, 1933

Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Missouri) October 22, 1933



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