|he Mandarin Mystery US (1937)
Above right: The Mandarin Mystery - British
trade ad poster - The larger size of the British journals (they were
approximately 3 times the size of their Hollywood rivals) made the lavish
and sophisticated adds ideal material for advance lobby publicity.
(Source Full Movie YouTube)
Victor Zobel had The Chinese Orange Mystery based on the Ellery Queen novel, in production about Oct.15. Herman Ruby was also mentioned as one of the screenplay writers for Republic but didn't make the credits. It hit the theaters December 23. 1936.
In retrospect this movie was even worse than the first one. It seemed obviously practicable to treat it as a comedy of the absurd. Famous sleuth Ellery Queen solves two murders - both committed in impenetrably locked rooms and recovers stolen stamp worth $50,000. The primary suspect is Jo Temple, the original possessor of the stamp. Falling in love with Jo, Ellery sets about to retrieve the stolen goods and solve the murders. There was some novelty value in the fact that an actor whose initials were E.Q. was cast as intellectual sleuth but it seemed a misstep. Eddie Quillan, who though a talented and appealing performer was woefully miscast as Queen. Perhaps realizing that Quillan could never be taken seriously in the leading role, Republic opted to play The Mandarin Mystery for laughs -- another big mistake. Hopelessly muddled script and fatal miscasting of diminutive Quillan as Ellery Queen sabotages this low-budget mystery. Although the film contains the bare bones of the book, it was played for laughs, and the childish acting and ineffective direction brought the first series of EQ films to a halt after just two entries.
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