Eight strangers are invited to spend the night in a penthouse apartment. After being wined and dined, a voice on the radio informs them that they will be murdered unless they manage to outwit the ninth guest: Death.
Roy William Neill
Several days after one of his company's dams burst, ruining the life savings of several investors, a shady power company president is found stabbed to death. Ellery Queen gets to the bottom of the mystery.
James P. Hogan
Princess Ling Moy, a young and beautiful Chinese aristocrat lives next door, unbeknownst to her, to Dr. Fu Manchu, a brilliant but twisted genius who is out to rule the world. She is ... See full summary »
Anna May Wong,
In his heyday, Ellery Queen made good reading and was justly popular. Hollywood, in its usual wisdom, made a mockery of poor Ellery. Although Ellery Queen appears as author of these screenplays, they were actually written by contract screen writers. We'll never know whose idea it was to turn Ellery into a comedian. All the Ellery films were on par with most of the stuff of the thirties and early forties, but that is not a compliment. Trite plots, corny situations and some absolutely terrible choices for the roles. The later Ellery, Ralph Bellamy, a wonderful actor, was badly miscast and looked awkward and was completely out of step with his character. Inspector Queen as well, and they made a clown out of Sergeant Velie à la Thin Man Series (much classier films). Only in the seventies with Jim Hutton, David Wayne and Tom Reese did Hollywood finally get it right. All three of these fine actors were perfectly cast for the parts they played, and displayed the intelligence one should expect. The highlight of this outing was the unexpected appearance of Mantan Moreland. A servile part, but he was always a pleasure to watch. Despite their shortcomings, I watch the old detective movies anyway when they come around, even if they are silly. It brings back the good old days, scrunched in a dark theater with a bag of popcorn in hand, all for 15 cents. For that I'll cut them some slack.
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