Justifiably a cult favorite, and a damn fine film in the bargain. Certainly the best of the Philo Vance series, THE KENNEL MURDER CASE stars the inimitable Powell for the fourth time as the debonair detective.
Here the mystery involves the members of a Long Island kennel club, and Philo, with the assistance of his Scottie and a prize-winning Doberman, solves a double murder. The plot is full of interesting twists and is eminently serviceable. But the real appeal of this amazing little film is Powell's
delightful flair for repartee; it's a pleasure to sit back and let him purr. Astor, too, brings her own special brand of warmth, conviction and appeal to almost everything she does.
The real star of the film, however, is director Michael Curtiz, who races through this flick like a piranha breaking a fast. His exposure to German expressionism pays off handsomely here, and the film is chock full of bizarre compositions, flashy editing, inventive camera angles and memorable
camerawork. Fast, foolish, engrossing and unique, this breathtaking little gem is a tribute to both Curtiz's craftsmanship and his fiery temperament. Remade by William Clemens as CALLING PHILO VANCE.
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