THE DRAGON MURDER CASE. First National Pictures, 1934. Warren William, Margaret Lindsay, Lyle Talbot, Eugene Pallette, Helen Lowell, Robert McWade, Robert Barrat. Based on the novel by S. S. Van Dine. Director: H. Bruce Humberstone. Shown at Cinefest #14, Syracuse NY, March 1994.

   The Dragon Murder Case, 1934, with Warren William replacing William Powell as Vance in four of the five previous entries in the series, was quite entertaining, and gave me infinitely more pleasure than any Van Dine novel I have ever read. High marks go to this film for the clever plot that generates a few genuine chills with a suggestion that there may be a real dragon in the pool where the first murder takes place.

   William is a great favorite of film convention audiences and always gets an enthusiastic hand during the credits. Here, he had relatively little to do, but he did it with intelligence and humor, albeit without Powell’s aristocratic poise. The Kennel Murder Case remains the classic Philo Vance film, but The Dragon Murder Case is worth seeking out.