Desperate Chance for Ellery Queen
EQ: William Gargan
Inspector Queen: Charley Grapewin
Nikki Porter: Margaret Lindsay
Sgt. Velie: James Burke
Norman Hadley: John Litel
Adele Belden: Lilian Bond
Ray Stafford: Morgan Conway
Mrs. Norman Hadley: Charlotte Wynters
Source: EQ Radio play "The Good Samaritan" 06-09-40
70 min, Black & White
this movie could enter production, Larry Darmour died. His widow, Alice
Darmour, announced that she intended to carry the two Ellery Queen films
scheduled that year. Gargan's second shot as Queen is no better than the first. This entry in
the series follows Queen as he investigates the case of
a woman's missing husband, a banker. Together with Nikki, Ellery travels to
San Francisco to check out the man, thought dead, who is seen alive. Before
long, someone is dead, and that's about as surprising as this film gets.
Lilian Bond as a burlesque queen is the only lively thing in this entry.
Above left: Gargan with Lilian Bond and Jack LaRue.
Desperate chance for Ellery Queen was at best a routine picture.
Although Dannay in his last decade condemned the Gargan films as much as
those with Bellamy, at the time he and Lee were quite pleased with the
series and even wanted the number of annual entries increased from three to
four. Columbia balked at this demand and, following the two entries still to
be filmed in 1942, closed down production all together, replacing the series
with The Crime Doctor. For pretty much the same reason as Nikki was
introduced in the Queen-series it also featured Margaret Lindsay. This
venture did become a success, but Lindsay's contract came up for renewal and
it was decided to drop her.
Above right: Cover Silver Screen edition of May 1942
with a fictionalized version of A Desperate Chance for Ellery
Above: full set of eight lobby cards