The Kennel Murder Case (1933)

     William Powell’s fifth turn as S.S. Van Dine’s detective Philo Vance may have been his best.  The Kennel Murder Case (1933) finds Philo Vance trying to solve the murder of Archer Coe.  Coe had many enemies but the greatest mystery for Vance is how Coe was murdered in a locked room.

     Vance attended a dog show with Coe and his inner circle the day before Coe’s death.  Because Coe died in a locked room, authorities believe it to be suicide.  Vance is preparing to sail, when he is notified of the murder.  Vance contacts his old friend District Attorney Markham.  Vance tells Markham Coe would be the last person to commit suicide.

william-powell

William Powell from the Public Domain

     Markham doesn’t seem convinced, so Vance doesn’t sail but gets a cab to the Coe home.  An examination proves Vance was right about Coe being murdered.

     Vance and Detective Heath have no shortage of suspects.  Coe was despised by all his associates and even his family.  It would be easier to find someone who did not want Archer Coe dead.  Vance tells Markham the locked door is a key to solving the crime.

     Eugene Pallette plays Detective Heath.  Born on July 8, 1889 in Kansas, Pallette played athletic roles in the silent era.  By the late 1920s, Pallette gained significant weight.  With his distinct voice, Pallete played primarily policemen or gangsters in the sound era.

     Pallette was known for his ultra-right political views.  After World War II, Pallette bought a rural Oregan property he fortified to use in case of Russian attack.  Pallette died from cancer on September 3, 1954 at 65 years of age.

     The Kennel Murder Case runs about 73 minutes.  With it’s production quality and acting, it would normally be a feature film on a double bill.  You can watch if for free on YouTube.

     If you would like to leave your impressions of the film, you can do so on my Facebook page or Twitter profile.

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