For Reel

The Kennel Murder Case (1933)
January 5, 2012, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Michael Curtiz

William Powell plays detective Philo Vance for the fourth and final time in The Kennel Murder Case, a busy 1933 mystery by the reliable Michael Curtiz. Though Powell originated the role on screen, the part would be passed over to actors like Basil Rathbone and Warren William over the years before falling out of the mainstream and into poverty row. Released a year prior to the first installment of The Thin Man series, the comparison is unavoidable and the film suffers because of it. Curtiz, though, deftly handles the convoluted plot with style – split screens, flashbacks, high angle shots, and so on. There’s a remarkable shot in the latter half of the picture in which a camera exits from a window, gracefully spins in the air, and captures the action happening from an adjacent building. Amiable as the film may be, however, I didn’t find the Vance character to be particularly memorable, even if the debonair Powell plays him with the expected abundance of charm.

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