The Greene Murder Case (1929)

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      The Greene Murder Case (1929) is a Philo Vance film starring William Powell.  The film also stars Jean Arthur in an early talking film role.  The Greene Murder Case was based on the Philo Vance books by S.S. Van Dine.  Van Dine wrote the book version of The Greene Murder Case in 1928.      The film begins with the executor of the Greene estate meeting

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Inspector Hornleigh (1939)

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     On March 7, 1939, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Company released the first of the Inspector Hornleigh films, Inspector Hornleigh (1939).  Inspector Hornleigh is a Scotland Yard Inspector assisted in his investigations by Sergeant Bingham.  Gordon Harker played Hornleigh, while Alastair Sim provides the comic relief as Sergeant Bingham.      Inspector Hornleigh opens with the discovery of a murdered

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Counter-Espionage (1942)

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     Columbia Pictures’ Lone Wolf series, starring Warren Williams as Michael Lanyard, is one of my favorite “B” film series.  Williams played the debonair jewel thief, who somehow always ends up helping the police solve a series of crimes.  Counter-Espionage (1942) begins with Lanyard stealing top secret plans from Sir Stafford Hart’s safe.      Scotland Yard’s Inspector Stephens

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Corsair (1931)

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     Roland V. West directed fourteen films in his career.  Critics consider three of his films to be excellent.  West directed the silent thriller The Bat in 1926.  West directed his most acclaimed film, Alibi (1929), which resulted in an Oscar nomination for his friend Chester Morris.  In 1930, West and Morris again collaborated on his last classic, The Bat

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The Bat Whispers (1930)

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     On November 13, 1930, Roland V. West released The Bat Whispers (1930), the talkie version of his silent classic, The Bat (1926).  The film follows faithfully the script of the original.  However, West is able to experiment with film techniques like tracking shots, still a novelty in early sound cinema.  Editing still dominated as the continuity and story

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Behind the Mask (1946)

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     Monogram Pictures released Behind the Mask (1946), the second of three films based on the popular Shadow radio program, on May 25, 1946.  “B” Film leading actor Kane Richmond returns as Lamont Cranston, the alter ego of the mysterious Shadow.      The film begins by following the activities a blackmailing newspaper reporter Jeff Mann, played by James Cardwell.  After

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Mr. Moto’s Gamble (1938)

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Peter Lorre reprises his role as Mr. Kentaro Moto, Interpol Agent, in Mr. Moto’s Gamble (1938).  James Tinling directed this film and Charlie Chan in Shanghai (1937).  Tinling’s participation caused Lorre to portray Mr. Moto more like Inspector Chan with a little jujitsu thrown in. In this film, Mr. Moto teaches a criminal investigation class to several budding investigators including Lee

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On The Spot (1940)

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     On June 11, 1940, Monogram Pictures released the latest film in the Frankie Darro-Mantan Moreland buddy films, On The Spot (1940).  Darro and Moreland made a number of comedic buddy films during the early 1940s for Monogram Pictures.      While the films were definitely in the “B” category, the team made entertaining films.  It was also unique

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After The Thin Man (1936)

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     Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) released After The Thin Man (1936), the sequel to the popular Thin Man (1934), on Christmas Day 1936.  The film is one of 14 films William Powell and Myrna Loy made together.  Powell and Loy play Dashiell Hammet’s characters Nick and Nora Charles respectively.      Nick Charles formerly worked as a private detective before marrying

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