The Bishop Murder Case (1930)

91 mins | Drama | 3 January 1930

Cinematographer:

Roy F. Overbaugh

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

Although onscreen sources credit Dr. Donald MacKenzie as the film's recording director, most contemporary sources credit noted sound man Frank MacKenzie with sound. It is probable that the onscreen credits were incorrect. Although the cast credits at the end of the film list actress Zelda Sears's character as "Mrs. Otto Drukker," within the film she is referred to as the sister of "Adolph Drukker." As noted in reviews, the story's various murders were staged to be suggestive of popular nursery rhymes such as "Humpty Dumpty."
       Modern sources add Richard Cramer and Broderick O'Farrell to the cast. The Bishop Murder Case was the only film in which Basil Rathbone portrayed the popular S. S. Van Dine detective, "Philo Vance." For information on other films featuring the character, please consult the entry below for The Kennel Murder Case ... More Less

Although onscreen sources credit Dr. Donald MacKenzie as the film's recording director, most contemporary sources credit noted sound man Frank MacKenzie with sound. It is probable that the onscreen credits were incorrect. Although the cast credits at the end of the film list actress Zelda Sears's character as "Mrs. Otto Drukker," within the film she is referred to as the sister of "Adolph Drukker." As noted in reviews, the story's various murders were staged to be suggestive of popular nursery rhymes such as "Humpty Dumpty."
       Modern sources add Richard Cramer and Broderick O'Farrell to the cast. The Bishop Murder Case was the only film in which Basil Rathbone portrayed the popular S. S. Van Dine detective, "Philo Vance." For information on other films featuring the character, please consult the entry below for The Kennel Murder Case . More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
2 Feb 1930.
---
New York Times
1 Feb 1930
p. 15.
Variety
5 Feb 1930
p. 24.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Stage dir
WRITER
Adpt, scen and dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Bishop Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine (New York, 1917).
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
3 January 1930
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp.
Copyright Date:
5 May 1930
Copyright Number:
LP1274
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric System
Black and White
Sound, also silent
Also si; 5,727 ft.
Duration(in mins):
91
Length(in feet):
7,901
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In New York City, soon after a typed note reading "Who killed Cock Robin?" and signed by "The Bishop" is found in the mailbox of prominent scientist Professor Bertrand Dillard, the body of his young assistant Robin, nicknamed "Cock Robin" by his friends, is discovered on the archery range on the grounds of Dillard's home. Detective Philo Vance is asked by the district attorney to consult on the case. Gathered at the scene of the crime are John E. Sprigg, the victim's best friend, who vows to find the killer; Belle Dillard, the professor's niece and ward; and Sigurd "Eric" Arnesson, Belle's fiancé and Dillard's assistant. After Vance interviews Dillard's neighbors, the elderly Miss Drukker and her hunch-backed brother Adolph, whom Vance is sure witnessed the crime, Miss Drukker dies of heart failure. Adolph is murdered one night while sitting on a wall in the park, reminiscent of the nursery rhyme "Humpty Dumpty," which is included in another note from "The Bishop." As typed notes from "The Bishop" continue to appear, each with a reference to a nursery rhyme, suspicion is soon cast on Arnesson, and Vance deduces that "The Bishop" is not a reference to a cleric but a chess piece. One night, when Belle hears a loud typing noise in an upstairs room of her house, she is confined by the unseen typist. Later, while Vance and the others are looking for Belle, Arnessen is brought before Vance and implies that he is guilty. Moments later, Dillard is uncovered as "The Bishop" when he drops poisin from his ring into a glass intended for Vance, who has discovered that Dillard secretly hated ... +


In New York City, soon after a typed note reading "Who killed Cock Robin?" and signed by "The Bishop" is found in the mailbox of prominent scientist Professor Bertrand Dillard, the body of his young assistant Robin, nicknamed "Cock Robin" by his friends, is discovered on the archery range on the grounds of Dillard's home. Detective Philo Vance is asked by the district attorney to consult on the case. Gathered at the scene of the crime are John E. Sprigg, the victim's best friend, who vows to find the killer; Belle Dillard, the professor's niece and ward; and Sigurd "Eric" Arnesson, Belle's fiancé and Dillard's assistant. After Vance interviews Dillard's neighbors, the elderly Miss Drukker and her hunch-backed brother Adolph, whom Vance is sure witnessed the crime, Miss Drukker dies of heart failure. Adolph is murdered one night while sitting on a wall in the park, reminiscent of the nursery rhyme "Humpty Dumpty," which is included in another note from "The Bishop." As typed notes from "The Bishop" continue to appear, each with a reference to a nursery rhyme, suspicion is soon cast on Arnesson, and Vance deduces that "The Bishop" is not a reference to a cleric but a chess piece. One night, when Belle hears a loud typing noise in an upstairs room of her house, she is confined by the unseen typist. Later, while Vance and the others are looking for Belle, Arnessen is brought before Vance and implies that he is guilty. Moments later, Dillard is uncovered as "The Bishop" when he drops poisin from his ring into a glass intended for Vance, who has discovered that Dillard secretly hated Arnessen for robbing him of his scientific fame and taking over the affections of Belle. When his guilt is revealed, Dillard drinks from what he thinks is the poisoned glass. After Dillard dies, Arnessen and the others think that Dillard drank the poison until Vance reveals that he had switched glasses and that the professor had actually died of shock. Belle, who was not harmed by her uncle, is reunited with Arnessen, who had pretended to act guilty after Vance slipped him a note to "play along." +

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

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