The Benson Murder Case (1930)

70 mins | Melodrama, Mystery | 12 April 1930

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HISTORY

As noted in reviews, the plot of this film differed significantly from S. S. Van Dine's original novel. The Benson Murder Case also was produced in a Spanish-language version, El cuerpo del delito (See Entry).
       News items in trade publications in Nov and Dec 1929 reported the following information: John Cromwell was the first announced director, followed briefly by Marcel De Sano, then Lothar Mendes before Frank Tuttle was assigned. Fay Wray was initially case as the picture's female lead in early Dec 1929, but reportedly would be replaced by Jean Arthur. Arthur had appeared in two previous "Philo Vance" pictures, The Canary Murder Case and The Greene Murder Case (see entries), although she played different characters in each film. Eventually, Natalie Moorehouse was selected as the lead. Other actors mentioned in news items, who were not in the released film, include Louis John Bartels, Neil Hamilton and Clive Brook, the last of whom was initially cast as "Benson."
       It is possible that The Benson Murder Case was the first feature film to include reference to the Oct 29, 1929 Stock Market Crash. The film marked the third and final Paramount film to feature William Powell as Philo Vance. Powell revived the role for the 1933 Warner Bros. production of The Kennel Murder Case, directed by Michael Curtiz. For information on other films featuring detective Philo Vance, please consult the entry for that film. ...

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As noted in reviews, the plot of this film differed significantly from S. S. Van Dine's original novel. The Benson Murder Case also was produced in a Spanish-language version, El cuerpo del delito (See Entry).
       News items in trade publications in Nov and Dec 1929 reported the following information: John Cromwell was the first announced director, followed briefly by Marcel De Sano, then Lothar Mendes before Frank Tuttle was assigned. Fay Wray was initially case as the picture's female lead in early Dec 1929, but reportedly would be replaced by Jean Arthur. Arthur had appeared in two previous "Philo Vance" pictures, The Canary Murder Case and The Greene Murder Case (see entries), although she played different characters in each film. Eventually, Natalie Moorehouse was selected as the lead. Other actors mentioned in news items, who were not in the released film, include Louis John Bartels, Neil Hamilton and Clive Brook, the last of whom was initially cast as "Benson."
       It is possible that The Benson Murder Case was the first feature film to include reference to the Oct 29, 1929 Stock Market Crash. The film marked the third and final Paramount film to feature William Powell as Philo Vance. Powell revived the role for the 1933 Warner Bros. production of The Kennel Murder Case, directed by Michael Curtiz. For information on other films featuring detective Philo Vance, please consult the entry for that film.

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PERSONAL & COMPANY INDEX CREDITS
HISTORY CREDITS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
14 Nov 1929
p. 8
Film Daily
8 Dec 1929
p. 4
Film Daily
10 Dec 1929
p. 9
Film Daily
13 Apr 1930
---
Motion Picture News
23 Nov 1929
p. 35
New York Times
12 Apr 1930
p. 23
Variety
13 Nov 1929
p. 6
Variety
27 Nov 1929
p. 21
Variety
4 Dec 1929
p. 6
Variety
11 Dec 1929
p. 62
Variety
16 Apr 1930
p. 49
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
B. P. Schulberg, General Manager West Coast Productions
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dial dir
PRODUCERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
A. J. Stout
Dir of photog
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SOUND
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Benson Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine (New York, 1926).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
12 April 1930
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 11 Apr 1930
Production Date:
began mid Dec 1929
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Paramount Famous Lasky Corp.
11 April 1930
LP1223
Physical Properties:
Sound
Movietone
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
70
Length(in feet):
5,794
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Anthony Benson, wealthy stockbroker, to escape the threats and pleas of numerous friends he sold out in the market crash, motors to his hunting lodge near New York, accompanied by Harry Gray, a Broadway gambler and one of those he sold out. Benson is followed by three others who have threatened to kill him: Adolph Mohler, whose forged check Benson holds; Mrs. Paula Banning, a widow, in love with Mohler, whose assets have been wiped out; and Fanny Del Roy, a Broadway actress, who claims that the pearls held in lieu of Mohler's check were stolen from her. During a visit by District Attorney Markham and amateur detective Philo Vance, Benson is murdered. While the police stumble on many conflicting clues, Vance pieces them together, reenacts the crime, and proves Gray's guilt; he is shot attempting to ...

More Less

Anthony Benson, wealthy stockbroker, to escape the threats and pleas of numerous friends he sold out in the market crash, motors to his hunting lodge near New York, accompanied by Harry Gray, a Broadway gambler and one of those he sold out. Benson is followed by three others who have threatened to kill him: Adolph Mohler, whose forged check Benson holds; Mrs. Paula Banning, a widow, in love with Mohler, whose assets have been wiped out; and Fanny Del Roy, a Broadway actress, who claims that the pearls held in lieu of Mohler's check were stolen from her. During a visit by District Attorney Markham and amateur detective Philo Vance, Benson is murdered. While the police stumble on many conflicting clues, Vance pieces them together, reenacts the crime, and proves Gray's guilt; he is shot attempting to escape.

Less

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.