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MOVIES LIST 1935-1941

The Spanish Cape Mystery US (1935)

Click on the poster add to read the full article
Director: Lewis D. Collins
Cast Includes:
EQ: Donald Cook

Inspector Queen: Guy Usher
Stella Godfrey: Helen Twelvetrees
Godfrey: Frank Sheridan
Captain Kidd: Richard Cramer
Sheriff: Harry Stubbs
Judge Macklin: Berton Churchill

Source: novel "The Spanish Cape Mystery"
65 min, 54 minutes for TV, Black & White

In this low-budget mystery Donald Cook plays Ellery Queen in a low-key, poker-faced fashion, which may not be terribly exciting but is actually closer to the original concept than most of the movie Queens. Although some liberties are taken with the classic plot the story emerges fairly unscathed. Cook's flirtatious Ellery is unrelated to any EQ novel, and the blustery Sheriff is the worst kind of comic relief.

The Mandarin Mystery US (1937)

Click on the poster to read the full articleDirector: Ralph Staub
Assistant Director: Phil Ford
Cast Includes
EQ: Eddie Quillan

Inspector Queen: Wade Boteler
Josephine Temple: Charlotte Henry
Mellish: Franklin Pangborn
Martha Kirk: Rita La Roy
Dr. Alexander Kirk: George Irving
Irene Kirk: Kaye Hughes
Huffy: William Newell

Source: novel "The Chinese Orange Mystery"
63 min, 54 min TV-version Black & White

Ellery Queen solves two murders - both committed in impenetrably locked rooms and recovers stolen stamp worth $50,000. Falling in love with the primary suspect Jo Temple, Ellery sets about to retrieve the stolen goods and solve the murders. The actor whose initials were E.Q. Eddie Quillan, a talented performer was woefully miscast as Queen. Republic opted to play 'The Mandarin Mystery' for laughs -- another big mistake.

The Crime Nobody Saw US (1937)

Click on the poster to read the full articleDirector: Charles Barton
Cinematographer: Harry A. Fischbeck
Editor:  James Smith
Screenwriter: Bertram Millhauser
Cast includes:
Dr. Brooks: Colin Tapley
John Atherton: Ferdinand Gottschalk
Robert Mallory: Howard Hickman
Suzanne Duval: Vivienne Osborne
Nick Milburn: Lew Ayres
Ambrosia (the maid): Hattie McDaniel

Source: stage play "Danger, Men Working"
60 min, Black & White.

In this comical murder mystery, three playwrights use $500 in advance money to get an apartment in which to write a mystery for John Atherton. EQ collaborated on a play with Lowell Brentano; when it died a quick death, it became "The Crime Nobody Saw" (referring to the stage play, perhaps?). With a script by Bertram Millhauser (who worked on the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes series) this comedy mystery sounds like it could be an interesting little film.

Ellery Queen, Master Detective US (1940)

Click on the poster to read the full articleDirector: Kurt Neumann
Cast Includes
EQ: Ralph Bellamy

Inspector Queen: Charley Grapewin

Nikki Porter: Margaret Lindsay

Sgt. Velie: James Burke
Dr James Rogers: Michael Whalen
John Braun: Fred Niblo Sr
Barbara Braun: Marsha Hunt
Doc Prouty: Charles Lane

Douglas Fowley, Katherine De Mille.

Source: novel "The Door Between"
Working title: "John Braun's Body"
66 min, Black & White

For reasons that defy logic, the studio elected to transform the brilliant, analytical Queen into a hopeless bumbler. Investigating the killing is  Ellery Queen, his father, and another mystery writer, Nikki Porter. Lindsay has some good moments as Nikki, but there's too much talk and too little intrigue. Ellery makes a daring proposal to her at the fade out: "Will you be my...secretary?"! -even though it's clear she's got more brains in her left toe than he has in his whole carcass. A novelization (by non-EQ hands) was published (later re-issued as "The Vanishing Corpse")

Ellery Queen's Penthouse Mystery US (1941)

Click on the poster to see the full articleDirector: James Hogan
Cast Includes
EQ: Ralph Bellamy
Inspector Queen: Charley Grapewin

Nikki Porter: Margaret Lindsay

Sgt. Velie: James Burke
 
Lois Ling: Anna May Wong
Count Brett: Eduardo Cianelli
Sanders: Frank Albertson
Doc Prouty: Charles Lane
Walsh:  Russell Hicks
Ann Doran, Tom Dugan, Mantan Moreland.

69 min, Black & White

Like the first entry in Columbia's "Ellery Queen" series, this film depicts its amateur-criminologist hero as an oafish ignoramus. Wong is good as always, but wasted here. Slow going. The influence of MGM's successful "Thin Man" series was obvious, as Ellery and Nikki engage in more comic squabbling than in sleuthing. An interesting cast, but that's about it. Like all of the remaining Columbia entries, it was written by Eric Taylor based on the EQ radio plot The Three (Four) Scratches (12-17-39), and directed by James Hogan. A novelization was published, but the cousins did not write.

Ellery Queen and the Perfect Crime US (1941)

Click on the poster to read the full articleDirector: James Hogan
Cast Includes
EQ: Ralph Bellamy
Inspector Queen: Charley Grapewin

Nikki Porter: Margaret Lindsay

Sgt. Velie: James Burke
 
Carlotta Emerson: Spring Byington
Ray Jardin: H.B. Warner
John Mathews: Douglas Dumbrille
Anthony Rhodes: Sydney Blackmer
Doc Prouty: Charles Lane

John Beal, Linda Hayes, Sidney Blackmer, Walter Kingsford.

Source: novel "The Devil to Pay"   68 min, Black & White

Ralph Bellamy's third of four appearances as Ellery Queen.  Probably the 'best' of the Columbia Queens, since it played fairly straight with the storyline of the novel, even while totally changing its setting and characters. Still too much Thin Manning, however, to satisfy mystery fans. Nothing perfect at all in this entry about the murder of a shady stockbroker. The script was novelized and published (but not written by EQ).

Ellery Queen and the Murder Ring US (1941)

Click on the poster to read the full articleDirector: James Hogan
Cast Includes
EQ: Ralph Bellamy

Inspector Queen: Charley Grapewin

Nikki Porter: Margaret Lindsay

Sgt. Velie: James Burke
 
Miss Tracy: Mona Barrie
Page: Paul Hurst
Thomas: Tom Dugan
Dr. Janney: George Zucco
John Stack: Leon Ames
Blanche Yurka.

Source: novel "The Dutch Shoe Mystery"
65 min, Black & White

Despite the fact that Ellery seems to be as dumb as a stone, he manages to solve the mystery. Loosely adapted from 'The Dutch Shoe Mystery', this bastardization is painful to watch. Slapstick comedy, with Hurst and Dugan as a couple of incompetent hit-men, switched bodies, broken legs, and other knee-slapping idiocies. It's no wonder Ralph Bellamy called it quits after this one.

 

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