Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


Alan Curtis and Sheila Ryan
PHILO VANCE'S SECRET MISSION (1947). Director: Reginald Le Borg.

Martin Jamison (Paul Maxey of The Sky Dragon), a publisher of lurid horror and mystery pulp magazines, wants to hire Philo Vance (Alan Curtis) to write a story based on a real-life murder case. The victim was the husband of widowed Elizabeth Phillips (Tala Birell), who is working for Jamison and faints when she discovers Vance will be investigating her late spouse's still-unsolved murder. Jamison announces that he already knows who did it -- and is later found dead in the trunk of a car. Aided by Jamison's cover model, Mona Bannister (Sheila Ryan), Vance attempts to discover who killed the late Mr. Phillips as well as Jamison. Other suspects include Paul Morgan (Frank Fenton of Hell Bound), Louise Roberts (Toni Todd of Philo Vance's Gamble), and others who worked for their deceased boss. Philo Vance's Secret Mission is an acceptable lower case mystery with a not-bad plot, even if the solution is somewhat obvious. Curtis makes a handsome and reasonably adept Philo and the others are all okay. Frank Jenks plays Philo's buddy and sort of-partner, Ernie, and James Bell is the sheriff. This is another PRC release.

Verdict: Passable time-passer. **1/2.

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