Queen of Crime

So, found another set of Columbia B pictures to dig into — Ralph Bellamy as ELLERY QUEEN, crime writer/detective.

I’ve only read one Ellery Queen book, which turned out to have been ghosted by respected SF writer Theodore Sturgeon.

I don’t know if ELLERY QUEEN AND THE PERFECT CRIME (James Hogan, 1941) bears any resemblance to any particular EQ book, but Eric Taylor, prolific and talented B-writer, is one of the scribes. And it has Spring Byington, drunken sexy Jesus HB Warner, Douglas Dumbrille, and a monkey. That guy from the movies, Ralph Bellamy, plays EQ, and Margaret Lindsay and Charley Grapewin are series regulars.

James Hogan alternates between static laundry line compositions that go on for years, and slightly more dynamic or inventive bits. Classic B approach, better than most. Being essentially a dilettante, Ellery Q gets to be flippant and eccentric and annoys the right people, and there are some decent gags. Also, really funky reel changes.

With Bellamy and Sidney Blackmer appearing, we can deduce that this movie played a big role in the casting of ROSEMARY’S BABY.

ELLERY QUEEN AND THE PERFECT CRIME stars Dr. Sapirstein; Hepzibah Pyncheon; Grandpa Joad; Bertha Van Cleve; Jeff Tuttle; Chief Powhattan; Dr. Paul Beecher; Elizabeth Price; Roman Castevet; Napoleon III; Max Jacobs; Louie Dumbrowsky; Dr. Bulfinch; and Elmer Fudd.

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6 Responses to “Queen of Crime”

  1. And I still have five Travis McGee novels to read!

    I know Nevins work from his Cornell Woolrich introductions.

  2. Tony Williams Says:

    Mike is a very good friend of mine, now retired from St. Louis School of Law, but still writing his FIRST YOU READ monthly columns, COVID making him now very ahead of deadlines. He also collaborated with Dannay’s widow on her biography of the writer.

  3. Fiona Watson Says:

    David has completely forgotten to mention that ‘the minkey’ in this film, is no other than Josephine, the delightful capucchin who appeared in The Man Who Laughs and co starred with Chaplin, Keaton and LLoyd. Here she is, acting up a sorm in The Kid Brother. Why she doesn’t have a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame is beyond me.

  4. The little monkey hands and feet in the cement would be cute.

  5. I like to give female characters more credit than so many of the older movies give them, especially in regards to their sexuality and prowess.

    Thus, the following is an alternate (and perhaps a bit more ‘feminist’) scenario to the unforgettably creepy Satanic rape scene in Rosemary’s Baby (1968), in which the devil is on top of the drugged Rosemary Woodhouse in order to impregnate her with his prophetic offspring …

    “Oh, God,” she exclaims, “This is no dream! This is really happening!”
    “You bet it’s happening, baby,’ Satan smugly confirms, for he perceives himself as the studly devil that many might attribute to such a powerful, feared diabolical entity.

    Then, six or seven seconds later, Satan climaxes and appears pleased with his own performance. Rosemary, however, looks up at him with a somewhat disappointed expression, and she says, “What? Is that it?”
    To this, of course, Satan betrays an embarrassedly surprised expression over his phallic failure.

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