The Casino Murder Case (1935)

82, 84-85 or 88 mins | Mystery | 15 March 1935

Director:

Edwin L. Marin

Producer:

Lucien Hubbard

Cinematographer:

Charles G. Clarke

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

This film was the ninth in the Philo Vance murder-mystery series. According to contemporary sources, M-G-M originally planned this picture as a Myrna Loy and William Powell "starrer," but Powell refused the assignment, announcing that he was tired of playing Philo Vance. HR pre-production news items noted that after M-G-M dropped plans to cast Otto Kruger in the lead, the studio began negotiations with Columbia to borrow Fred Keating for the part. Following this, a DV pre-production news item indicated that the studio had failed in its negotiations for Warren William to play the lead, and that Ricardo Cortez was likley to get the part. Two weeks prior to the commencement of production, HR announced that Paul Lukas and Edward Brophy had been set to take over the male leads from William Powell and Eugene Pallette respectively. Brophy was later replaced by Ted Healy. Another HR pre-production news item noted that Alison Skipworth was borrowed from Paramount to play the part of Mrs. Llewellyn, which was originally set for Constance Collier. Collier reportedly decided to back out of the production because her role in Shadow of a Doubt (see below) was too similar to that of "Mrs. Llewellyn," and because production on that film would end too late for her to break between films.
       In her autobiography, Rosalind Russell is quoted as saying that The Casino Murder Case was "so bad, and I was so bad in it." For more information on the films featuring the "Philo Vance" character, consult the Series Index and See Entry for The ... More Less

This film was the ninth in the Philo Vance murder-mystery series. According to contemporary sources, M-G-M originally planned this picture as a Myrna Loy and William Powell "starrer," but Powell refused the assignment, announcing that he was tired of playing Philo Vance. HR pre-production news items noted that after M-G-M dropped plans to cast Otto Kruger in the lead, the studio began negotiations with Columbia to borrow Fred Keating for the part. Following this, a DV pre-production news item indicated that the studio had failed in its negotiations for Warren William to play the lead, and that Ricardo Cortez was likley to get the part. Two weeks prior to the commencement of production, HR announced that Paul Lukas and Edward Brophy had been set to take over the male leads from William Powell and Eugene Pallette respectively. Brophy was later replaced by Ted Healy. Another HR pre-production news item noted that Alison Skipworth was borrowed from Paramount to play the part of Mrs. Llewellyn, which was originally set for Constance Collier. Collier reportedly decided to back out of the production because her role in Shadow of a Doubt (see below) was too similar to that of "Mrs. Llewellyn," and because production on that film would end too late for her to break between films.
       In her autobiography, Rosalind Russell is quoted as saying that The Casino Murder Case was "so bad, and I was so bad in it." For more information on the films featuring the "Philo Vance" character, consult the Series Index and See Entry for The Kennel Murder Case . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
19 Dec 34
p. 7.
Daily Variety
11 Jan 35
p. 6.
Daily Variety
2 Feb 35
p. 2.
Daily Variety
23 Feb 35
p. 3.
Film Daily
2 Mar 35
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Nov 34
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Dec 34
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Dec 34
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jan 35
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Feb 35
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
25 Feb 35
p. 35.
Motion Picture Herald
16 Feb 35
p. 45.
Motion Picture Herald
27 Apr 35
p. 52.
MPSI
1 Apr 35
p. 11.
New York Times
17 Apr 35
p. 26.
Variety
17 Apr 35
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
2d cam
Asst cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Synch score
SOUND
Rec dir
PRODUCTION MISC
Gaffer
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Casino Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine (New York, 1934).
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
15 March 1935
Production Date:
11 January--2 February 1935
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Copyright Date:
7 March 1935
Copyright Number:
LP5391
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
82, 84-85 or 88
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
646
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Gentleman detective Philo Vance begins an investigation when he receives an anonymous letter stating that society man Lynn Llewellyn will be in danger when he appears at the casino owned by his uncle, Kinkaid. Vance visits the Llewellyn estate, which is run by Mrs. Priscilla Kinkaid-Llewellyn, the matriarch of the household, and stumbles into one of the family's many quarrels. At the end of the bitter quarrel, which involves Mrs. Llewellyn's son Lynn and his wife Virginia, Virginia announces that she has decided to leave the house and go to Chicago. During the tiff, Vance and Doris, Mrs. Llewellyn's secretary, are introduced to each other and Doris immediately takes a liking to Vance. Vance takes Doris to his home, where he and District Attorney Markham show her the mysterious letter. Doris immediately recognizes the return address as being that of the Llewellyn's townhouse in Closter and notices that the letter was typed on her typewriter. Vance assigns Sergeant Heath to help stake out the casino that night, but their presence does not prevent Lynn from suddenly collapsing at the card table. At the same time, Doris informs Vance that Virginia has died at the Llewellyn house. Markham begins his investigation of the murder by questioning Mrs. Llewellyn, who recalls having quarrelled with Virginia before she was poisoned, and Amelia, Mrs. Llewellyn's daughter, who admits that she too had a spat with Virginia. Meanwhile, Doris finds Mrs. Llewellyn's recently altered will, in which she disinherited Kinkaid, making it apparent that Lynn and Amelia would be the only ones who would benefit from Mrs. Llewellyn's death. Other clues begin to surface, including ... +


Gentleman detective Philo Vance begins an investigation when he receives an anonymous letter stating that society man Lynn Llewellyn will be in danger when he appears at the casino owned by his uncle, Kinkaid. Vance visits the Llewellyn estate, which is run by Mrs. Priscilla Kinkaid-Llewellyn, the matriarch of the household, and stumbles into one of the family's many quarrels. At the end of the bitter quarrel, which involves Mrs. Llewellyn's son Lynn and his wife Virginia, Virginia announces that she has decided to leave the house and go to Chicago. During the tiff, Vance and Doris, Mrs. Llewellyn's secretary, are introduced to each other and Doris immediately takes a liking to Vance. Vance takes Doris to his home, where he and District Attorney Markham show her the mysterious letter. Doris immediately recognizes the return address as being that of the Llewellyn's townhouse in Closter and notices that the letter was typed on her typewriter. Vance assigns Sergeant Heath to help stake out the casino that night, but their presence does not prevent Lynn from suddenly collapsing at the card table. At the same time, Doris informs Vance that Virginia has died at the Llewellyn house. Markham begins his investigation of the murder by questioning Mrs. Llewellyn, who recalls having quarrelled with Virginia before she was poisoned, and Amelia, Mrs. Llewellyn's daughter, who admits that she too had a spat with Virginia. Meanwhile, Doris finds Mrs. Llewellyn's recently altered will, in which she disinherited Kinkaid, making it apparent that Lynn and Amelia would be the only ones who would benefit from Mrs. Llewellyn's death. Other clues begin to surface, including Kinkaid's unusual collection of books on chemistry and poisons, and a loaded gun found in Virginia's bedroom. Soon after Lynn's recovery, Mrs. Llewellyn is found dead of an apparent suicide with a note, bearing her signature, in which she confesses to Virginia's murder. Not convinced that the mystery has been solved, Vance pursues his theory that Mrs. Llewellyn may have been poisoned by heavy water, which leads him to Kinkaid's secret laboratory, where he and Doris are being held at gunpoint by Kinkaid. Vance and Doris escape, but Vance does not believe that Kinkaid is the murderer, thinking instead that he is merely one of many decoys set up by the real killer to lead the investigation astray. The real killer turns out to be Lynn, who has lured Vance and Doris to the Closter townhouse to kill them. But before Lynn completes his "perfect crime," Vance reads from a letter he wrote earlier in which he detailed his theory about the killings. In it, Vance names Lynn as the murderer, calling him a rich, egomaniacal weakling, who, being tired of his wife, poisoned her and threw the blame on his uncle, whom he despised. After hearing Vance's summary of the murder plot, Lynn tells his captors that he has arranged to pin Vance and Doris' forthcoming murder on Kinkaid. However, when Lynn shoots Vance, Heath and others emerge from behind a door where they have been recording Lynn's confession and arrest him. After thanking Becky, Mrs. Llewellyn's maid, for loading Lynn's gun with blanks, Vance resumes his romance with Doris. +

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

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