Other media

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TELEVISION

Ellery Queen: Don't Look Behind You

NBC,  11/19/1971 or 11/11/1971
Peter Lawford96 minutes
Producer: Leonard J.Ackerman
Executive producer: Edward J.Montague
Director: Barry Shear
Screenplay from EQ-novel: Ted Leighton
Music: Jerry Fielding
Cast:
EQ: Peter Lawford
Inspector Queen: Harry Morgan

Sgt.Velie: Bill Zuckert
Dr. Edward Cazalis: E.G. Marshall
Mrs. Cazalis: Coleen Gray
Celeste Phillips: Stephanie Powers
Police Commissioner: Morgan Sterne,
Christy: Skye Aubrey

Queen remained off the home screen for thirteen years. Universal Pictures prepared a 2 hour pilot for a new series. Originally announced as 'Catch me if you can' this easily forgettable murder mystery has famed detective taking over police-baffling Hydra case. Relationship between Lawford and Morgan starts out well but disappears as film progresses. The plot structure of "Cat of Many Tails" is present here, but all Lawford (left) and Harry Morgan in "Ellery Queen Don't look behind you" of the story's subtleties and insights are tossed away. The script was written by Richard Levinson and William Link (billed as "Ted Leighton" because they disapproved of changes made). The casting of Ellery is preposterous: Lawford plays him as an overaged, mod "Swinging London" hipster. Harry Morgan, well-suited as the long-suffering Dad, has been rewritten as a long-suffering uncle. Thus resolving the difference in accents between the two actors.

The Glass Village (Skleněná vesnice) (Czechoslovakia)

TV film, 1975
Director: Jan Matějovský
Screenplay: Jaroslav Merunka
Starring: Vaclav Švorc, George Pleskot, Dalimil Flap, Ota Sklenčka, Ferdinand Krůta, Frantisek Nemec, Jirí Zahajský.

Source novel: "The Glass Village"

Ellery Queen

Click on left and/or right sidePublicity shot of the 'Dynamic Duo' David Wayne & Jim HuttonNBC, 1975-1976


Creator/Executive Producers: Richard Levinson, William Link
Music: Elmer Bernstein, Hal Mooney 
Cast:
Ellery Queen: Jim Hutton
Inspector Richard Queen: David Wayne

Sgt. Velie: Tom Reese

Simon Brimmer: John Hillerman
Frank Flanagan: Ken Swofford
Deputy Commissioner Hayes: Arch Johnson

In 1975, Levinson and Link, lifelong Queen fans, were allowed by NBC to do Queen the way they wanted. The result was "Ellery Queen" which ran for only one full season. Stylistically, the producers went back to the radio show, setting this series in 1947. Although the pilot was based on a Queen novel, and one episode on a short story, the rest of the episodes were original stories, but stories that well-captured the spirit of an Ellery Queen mystery. Jim Hutton played Ellery as a good-natured, absent-minded young man for which there were legitimate bases in the books.
Frederic Dannay said Hutton's portrayal reminded him not so much of the fictional Ellery, but of himself at about Hutton's age. Hutton's charm and natural manner played perfectly against David Wayne's crusty Inspector (despite lacking the moustache so often mentioned in the books, the definitive depiction of 'The Old Man'). The show had a sense of good humor, and its setting in 1947 lent a welcome sense of  nostalgia to the stories.
Although the episodes varied in quality, none was poor, and even the weakest of them is redeemed by the plot, the production values, and the marvelous casts.

read more...

Click for list of episodesList of '75 episodes - List of '76 episodes

 

Tragedy of Y (Y-no-higeki) (Japan)

Photo from the Japanese TV-drama The Tragedy of Y (dvd cover)
Fuji TV, 1978
Director: Shigemichi Sugita
Producers: Tani Kou Qian / Ken
Scenario: Kunio Shimizu
Music: Masaru Sato
Cast:
Nango (Drury Lane): Koji Ishizaka
Inspector Sahara: Nobuo Kaneko
Kiyoko Sahara: Masako Natsume
and also with Kaoru Yachigusa, Sachiko Hidari, Ehara Makoto, Muramatsu Eiko, Takeshi Hara


This is a first. A television play about Drury Lane. Masako Natsume plays a daughter of an assistant police inspector. The Drury Lane part is called Nango. The 6 episode series is available as a 3 DVD box.

The Best Japanese Mystery series episode:
      "The Cat-House Murder Case" (Japan)

TV, 1980
Source short-story: "
The Adventure of the Seven Black Cats"
About 60 min

The stories in the anthology were derived from Ellery Queen’s Japanese Golden Dozen. At the opening of each episode, Fred Dannay provided an introduction pretty much like Hitchcock did in his series. The Cat-House Murder Case, based on The Adventure of the Seven Black Cats had this puzzle story somewhat altered into a suspense drama without Ellery even appearing. So in this version, for those familiar with the story, Miss Curleigh, the petshop owner solved the case at the peril of losing her own life since the murderer tries to kill her.

 

The Lonely Hunter (Kodokuna Kariudo) (Japan)

TV film, 1982
Director: Yoichi Jaku

Source novel: "Cop Out
"
About 120 min

The Fourth Side of the Triangle
      (C
tvrtá Strana Trojuhelniku) (Czech Republic)

TV film, 1986
Director: Jana Semschová
Květa Fialová, Radovan Lukavský, Zdeněk Žák, Dana Batulková, Jan ČenskýScreenplay: Milos Smetana
Dramaturge: Eduard Verner
Music: George F. Svoboda
Starring: Radovan Lukavský (Ashton McKell), Kveta Violet (Lutetie Mc Kellova) , Jan Censký (Dane McKell) , Petr Stepanek (Ellery Queen), Dana Batulková (Judy), Jan Kanyza (Inspector),  Paul Soukup (Sergeant), Hana Maciuchová (Sheila), Jaroslav Satoranský (Heaton), Otakar Scrimgeour Wed , Jan Skopecek , John Spark , Zdenek Zak (Ramon), Otokar Brousec (Barton)

Source novel: "The Fourth Side of the Triangle"
80 min

Supposedly fairly decent TV-drama, with detective Petr Stephanec playing Ellery Queen. (Click here to see the movie)

Wife or Death (Dáma a smrt) (Czech Republic)

TV film, 1992
Director: Milan Růžička
Ladislav Kolář (Jim Denton) and Monika Maláčová (Angela) in Dama a smrt (TV, 1992)Screenplay: Marie Loucká
Music: Milan Dvořák
Starring: Ladislav Kolář (Jim Denton), Monika Maláčová (Angela), Vladimír Krátký (George), Hana Čížková (Corina), Zdeněk Dvořák (Norman), Jana Švandová (Ardis), Josef Bek (Trevor), Karel Chromík, (Ralph), Ladislav Potměšil (Augie), Igor Bareš (Harley), Jindřich Hrdý (Ted), Miroslav Vrba (Amos), Eva Bírková (Ellen), Monika Pošívalová (Oliva), Arnošt Proschek (Matt), Josef Šebek (Mac).

Source novel: "Wife or Death"
74 min

Wrongly described as being based on a short story instead it's the plot from a ghostwritten Ellery Queen novel by
Richard Deming.  

The Three Widows  (Japan)

TV film, 1993
Source shortstory: The Three Widows (Q.B.I.)
About 60 min

In this one hour drama cast members added lots of subplots and gimmicks to the story. This wasn’t beneficial to the story and it can easily be forgotten. 

 

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