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21 user 11 critic

The Bishop Murder Case (1929)

Passed | | Drama, Mystery | 3 January 1930 (USA)
When the body of a man nicknamed "Cock Robin" is found with an arrow in the heart on an archery range along with a chess bishop as a clue, Philo Vance investigates.

Directors:

David Burton, Nick Grinde (as Nick Grindé)

Writers:

S.S. Van Dine (from the book by), Lenore J. Coffee (adaptation)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Basil Rathbone ... Philo Vance
Leila Hyams ... Belle Dillard
Roland Young ... Sigurd Arnesson
Alec B. Francis ... Professor Bertrand Dillard
George F. Marion ... Adolph Drukker
Zelda Sears ... Mrs. Otto Drukker
Bodil Rosing ... Grete Menzel
Carroll Nye ... John E. Sprigg
Charles Quatermaine Charles Quatermaine ... John Pardee (as Charles Quartermaine)
James Donlan James Donlan ... Ernest Heath
Sidney Bracey ... Pyne (as Sydney Bracey)
Clarence Geldart ... John F.-X. Markham
Delmer Daves ... Raymond Sperling
Nellie Bly Baker Nellie Bly Baker ... Beedle
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Storyline

The murders start with the body of Robin. He is found with a arrow through the heart, but Vance deduces that the body was placed and not found where he was killed. The note found dealing with the murder was part of a nursery rhyme and signed by 'Bishop'. The only witness may have been Mrs. Drukker and Adolph, but they are not talking. As the murders progress, each one is accompanied by a nursery rhyme. It is up to Philo Vance to unravel the clues and unmask the identity of the murderer 'Bishop'. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The finest of all S. S. Van Dine's murder mystery stories...now an all-talking picture! (original poster) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 January 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Biskop-Mordet See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although modern sources often refer to this as a 1930 production, it was completed in 1929, and premiered in San Antonio, Texas on 31 December 1929, but not released nationally until early 1930. See more »

Goofs

When Vance and fellow detectives investigate the body of Robin, who has been shot with an arrow, the angle of the arrow changes. Sometimes it's straight up out of the body, other times it's at almost a 45 degree angle. See more »

Quotes

Philo Vance: [to Heath] Sergeant, you're much too trusting for this deceitful world. If everything happened as easy as that, life would be very simple and very dull.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Philo Vance Returns (1947) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz in A Minor, Op.34, No.2 ('Waltz Brilliante')
(1831-39) (uncredited)
Written by Frédéric Chopin
Played on piano by Basil Rathbone
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Just a regular Sherlock Holmes
22 November 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

I recently learned that Willard Huntington Wright aka S.S. Van Dine the author of the Philo Vance mysteries sold the various screen rights to his stories one at a time to the various studios who would pay for them. It's the reason that Paramount, MGM, Warner Brothers and later the B independent Producer's Releasing Corporation all had a hand in the series and we have so many Philos to compare styles with.

Basil Rathbone takes his turn at Philo and the Philo he creates isn't too much different from Sherlock Holmes. He's got no Watson to be his scribe and record his genius, but otherwise he's the same clever fellow who found out the secret of that hound of the Baskervilles, etc.

S.S. Van Dine did create a dumb flatfoot of a police sergeant Heath for Vance to constantly show up. At Paramount and later at Warner Brothers it was Eugene Palette, here we have James Donlon who even the maid puts down regularly. I'm not sure what Heath is there for because the District Attorney just calls in Vance for help when there's an interesting case.

Here we have the discovery of a dead body found on an archery field with an arrow through him. Of course the minute Vance gets there he deduces all is not as it appears.

I will say this, the murderer here was a surprise to me and even more important four people die in this film, but only the first murder was a planned one. The others happened because of some unforeseen circumstances our culprit didn't see coming.

That Philo, he's a regular Sherlock Holmes when it comes to solving these murders.


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