Calling Philo Vance

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Calling Philo Vance
Calling Philo Vance poster.jpg
theatrical poster
Directed by William Clemens
Produced by Brian Foy
(assoc. prod; uncredited)'
Screenplay by Tom Reed
Based on The Kennel Murder Case (1933 novel)
by S. S. Van Dine
Starring James Stephenson
Margot Stevenson
Cinematography L. Wm. O'Connell
Edited by Benjamin Liss
Louis Lindsay
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date
February 3, 1940 (US)
Running time
62 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Calling Philo Vance is a 1940 American mystery/comedy released by Warner Bros. and starring James Stephenson as the dilettante detective Philo Vance, his only appearance as the character; Margot Stevenson co-stars. The film also features Henry O'Neill, Edward Brophy, Sheila Bromley and Ralph Forbes. It was directed by William Clemens from a screeenplay by Tom Reed, based on the 1933 novel The Kennel Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine, which had previously been made into a film in 1933, starring William Powell and Mary Astor.

For this adaptation of the story, Vance is on international assignment from the United States government to investigate traffic in wartime aircraft designs. The original story dealt with art world double-dealing, but the solution to the mystery is the same in each film.


Cast notes:

  • Warner Bros. intended to revitalize the Philo Vance series with British stage actor James Stephenson, but Stephenson never played the part again – he died of a heart attack in 1941.[1]
  • Actors George Reeves, known for playing "Superman" on television in the 1950s, and William Hopper, noted for playing "Paul Drake" on the Perry Mason TV series in the 1950s-60s, both played small roles in the film.[1]
  • Vance's dog, "McTavish", was played by Terry, who also played "Toto" in The Wizard of Oz.[2]


Calling Philo Vance had the working titles "Philo Vance Comes Back" and "Philo Vance Returns".[3]



External links[edit]