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on January 30, 2004
If this is the ground-breaking 30's detective movie they say it is, the DVD deserves more care as to quality control. (Please note that the distributor is not the studio that originally produced the film.) That said, the mystery is entertaining; and the acting is solid. However, the DVD picture quality is poor and is a major distraction. UCLA needs to get to work on this one, fast! The sound is surprisingly strong for most of the film, except in a couple of places where it cuts in and out. I will keep this DVD in my collection, but I cannot recommend it to any one to buy.
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on February 19, 2004
Great story with a great actor. Too bad Alpha didn't care enough to find a good print... sound is okay. I would not buy from them again.
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on December 22, 1998
For those who enjoy the Thin Man movies, this remake of the earlier silent version is worth watching. Although, not totally faithful to the book, this script captures the spirit of Philo Vance and William Powell gives a fluid performance. The supporting cast is made up of character actors familiar to any one who has viewed movies from the 30's. For Van Dine devotees this may be a bit of a disappointment, but for most this will prove a very viewable adaptation.
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on August 9, 2004
I was looking forward to a sharp, clear DVD of one of my favorite whodunnits but instead I wasted my money with Alpha Video on something that looks like a poor copy of a VHS! Do yourself a favor and look for a good, remastered version of this movie from someone else and enjoy! The story and plot are well worth it!
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on December 3, 2004
from the 30s. William Powell is his usual sophisticated self, and in this film he, as Philo Vance, has an extraordinary talent for sleuthing. So much so that he makes the head detective of the police department (played adroitly by Eugene Palette) look like a dunderhead. But Palette's character doesn't mind and, in fact, depends on Powell's gift to solve the case and take the credit (and Powell doesn't mind in the least) for it. So all is amicable.

Several reviewers have mentioned the poor quality of the DVD. I only experienced near the end of the film two or three moments when the sound/picture seemed to slightly skip. Other than that, all ran smoothly.

Mary Astor is in this film, suave and gorgeous and looking so young one hardly recognizes her. Also legendary character actor Jack LaRue playing an Italian. And then there is Frank Morgan, et al. And one meets a couple of terrific dogs: one a scotty, the other a doberman. Their performances are up to par.

I personally couldn't guess who the murderer was unti it was ultimately revealed due to Vance's brilliancy. In fact, I had the wrong man in mind. I like a who done it where the villian's identity turns out to be a surprise. And the motive was one I couldn't imagine.

An enjoyable trip to the 30s.
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on March 30, 2004
THE KENNEL MURDER CASE is an old-fashioned detective movie complete with a locked room mystery and a case of mistaken identity. The detective work by the hero Philo Vance is brilliant. The film is based on a novel by S.S. Van Dyne. It is a fun movie even though the story takes place during the height of the Great depression in New York City.
The role of Vance is played convincingly by William Powell. The strong supporting cast includes Eugene Pallette, Mary Astor, Ralph Morgan, Jack LaRue, Helen Vinson, Etienne Girardot and Paul Cavanaugh.
The film's director Michael Curtiz also directed CASABLANCA and YANKEE DOODLE DANDY.
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VINE VOICEon July 19, 2010
S.S. Van Dine's Philo Vance has been all but forgotten today, seeming too perfect and erudite for today's reading audience. The dapper detective was adapted to film several times, however. The Kennel Murder Case is by far the best film adaptation of the highbrow sleuth. Director Michael Curtiz used that early 1930's soft focus look and a well-written and witty script to bring Vance to life in the form of William Powell, who proved perfect for the part.

From the opening moments of Vance at the Long Island Kennel Club with his dog, Captain McDavish, this is a classy and breezily paced little mystery. The murder of Hilda Lake's dog escalates into a human murder with lots of suspects. But how was the murder committed, when the victim is found dead in a room locked from the inside? It's just the type of puzzle in which Philo Vance relishes, so he cancels his vacation cruise to lend Detective Heath (Eugene Pallet) a hand.

A young and very stylish Mary Astor stars as Hilda Lake, with a supporting cast which includes Helen Vinson, Ralph Morgan, Frank Conroy, and Paul Cavanaugh. James Lee Liang as a cook obsessed with Chinese treasures adds flavor to this delicious little concoction. Vance has a locked room puzzle but rather than confining, director Curtiz manages enough flair and visual touches to offset that drawing room feel many early 1930's mysteries had.

Shady business dealings, spurned affections, and valuable Chinese artifacts all play a part in this tight little mystery. Powell's Vance is uptown, cool as a cucumber, and fun to watch as he's always one step ahead of everyone else. In many ways, what makes Van Dine's written characterization of Philo Vance seem so insufferable to some readers today, lends the screen Vance, influenced by William Powell's charm, almost hip. Vance's solution to the mystery is unique, but the best part is the fun we have getting there.

This is a great little rainy night mystery for those times you're in a nostalgic mood. Mystery lovers don't want to miss this little gem.
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As with all good murder cases there is some nasty person (Archer Coe) that makes everyone he comes in contact want to murder him and his little dog too. You guessed it he apparently committed suicide in a "locked" room.

Of course Philo Vance (William Powell) does not believe it and has to unravel a complex "Who-done-it" and how?

This film is based on a novel by S.S. Van Dyne. Moreover, even thought it has William Powell and Mary Astor, two well-known actors in it they are not a couple in the movie.

The acting is well done. And you will find many of the elements (character portrayal, gimmicks, and subplots) in later movies.
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on June 28, 2015
Dog fancier Archer Coe looked forward to tomorrow's dog competition, certain his Scottish terrier would win, until he saw Sir MacDonald's dog. Unfortunately, for Archer, he will never know who would have won. Not only was Archer murdered, so was Sir MacDonald's dog!

Cast of suspects:
Coe's main competitor at the dog show, Sir Thomas MacDonald; he was certain that Archer killed his prize dog.
Coe's niece, Hilda Lake; she was angry with her uncle's tight control over her fortune.
Coe's secretary, Raymond Wrede; he was angry with Archer for standing in the way of his plans to marry Hilda.
Coe's brother, Brisbane Coe; he was angry with his brother wanting to control everything.
Coe's love interest, Doris Delafield; she was fearful of what Archer would do once he discovered her affair with Eduardo.
Coe's business associate, Eduardo Grassi; he was angry after Archer backed out of a valuable contract.
Coe's cook, Mr. Liang; he was angry that Archer planned to sell the Chinese treasures that he had obtained for him.
Coe's butler, Mr. Gamble; he seems to have no motive at all, but mysteriously, he has no past either.

Earlier in the day, Archer spoke to a man whose Scottish terrier had just been eliminated from the running; the man's name was Philco Vance. As fate would have it, Archer said something to Vance that would convince Vance that Archer did not really commit suicide . . . .

Extras: none.

DVD - 2014. Picture: fair; sharpness: somewhat fuzzy; contrast good, however light areas are washed out; defects: speckling and vertical streaks. Sound volume normal, clear; music at beginning slightly coarse. Subtitles: none.
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on November 4, 2014
This is the best quality of this film I've ever found, and I have three different copies. It's one of my favorite movies with star William Powell (of Thin Man fame and many others). I rarely review things, but I am so happy with this purchase. The film is not in perfect condition, but so improved over my other copies that you can actually see the beautiful details in the sets. And, of course, my favorite actress, Mary Astor, looks better than ever. It's a great mystery/detective movie from the early '30s with lots of plot twists and great acting.
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