"When Nazis meet Ellery, they meet their Waterloo."
Showman's Trade Review "The Box Office Slant", August 29. 1942
"AUDIENCE SLANT: (Family) A minor mystery item suitable for week-end action bookings in the subsequent runs. Should prove acceptable fare for the Ellery Queen fans.
BOX-OFFICE SLANT: Where the Queen mysteries are popular, this one should draw satisfactorily.
Plot: Nazi agents in the United States learn of diamonds smuggled out of Amsterdam to this country, kill the smuggler, gain possession of the ' diamonds. Ellery Queen finds the spyring, smashes it.
Comment: Heretofore occupied with solving strange murder cases, Ellery Queen, fictional sleuth, goes on a war-time footing in this spy mystery. It's a minor item, suitable for week-end action bookings in the subsequent runs, despite the fact that little action develops until the end when Marines and Sailors come to the detective's rescue. Apparently a newcomer to the title role, William Gargan lacks the color and glamour visualized by the average reader or radio listener, although he does a competent job. Margaret Lindsay fares much better as his beautiful, blundering secretary. Where Ellery Queen mysteries are liked, this one should prove acceptable. Tie-ups on the Ellery Queen books, code message teaser throwaways, timely campaigns to the effect that "loose talk aids enemy agents" are basic selling angles on the film."
|Above: full set of eight lobby cards
|Columbia's "Ellery Queen" series called it quits with this timely 1942 entry The eponymous enemy agents are on the lookout for a cache of precious diamonds, which are being smuggled from Holland to the United States by way of Egypt. The gems are hidden in a mummy case, the better to throw the Nazis and the American authorities off the track. When smuggler Paul Gilette is murdered upon arriving in the US with the diamonds, Ellery Queen and his police-inspector father try to solve the killing. The villains lead Ellery on a merry chase through a jewelry shop, art gallery, athletic club and cemetery, with Ellery's secretary Nikki Porter ending up in the Nazi's clutches at one juncture.
Boasting a formidable lineup of "heavies" (Gale
Sondergaard, Sig Ruman, et. al.), Enemy Agents Meet Ellery Queen is
easily the best of the undistinguished series.
This isn't even a mystery plot per se, at one time intended to be named
Queen Across the Atlantic they changed it to a title
which gives away most of the story!
guest cast is full of entertaining character actors who give delightfully hammy
performances and it's a fast 64 minutes.
The story required a collection of jewels, that are stolen, so James Hogan, the director, got busy and rented them. Marlene Dietrich got a break- she just borrowed the gems and wore them in The Lady is Willing. (1942)
In 1943 Gargan and Lindsey also made No Place for a Lady again directed by Hogan. The theme in this movie is again "Queenesque" but no Ellery appears. Instead Gargan takes on the role of private eye Jess Arno and Lindsey is cast as his faithful fiancé June Terry. In this story a valuable collection of tires is been stolen (vital for the war effort!) by a rich widow. Shortly thereafter she's been murdered and suspicion falls upon Dolly Adair (Phyllis Brooks), Arno has reasons to disagree and sets out to find the real murderer.
Motion Picture Herald by Charles S. Aaronson - August 29. 1942
Ellery Queen, who as a fictional detective enjoys a considerable following in book form, here in the person of William Gargan becomes involved in what appears to be a case of smuggling, and which develops into the tracking and trapping of a gang of Nazi spies. ...
The picture opens with action and a good measure of suspense, develops murder mystery elements and a portion of excitement, but de- generates into a sailor and Marine fracas with the spies, which wrecks the interior of a club which is the spy front, and tends to weaken the conclusion of the film. ...
An audience at the Central theatre on Broadway, New York, on a weekday afternoon gave the film reasonably close attention and appeared moderately entertained by proceedings. Review's Rating : Fair."
(Colorized version - Source YouTube Scott Lord Mystery Film - Oct 31. 2021)
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