11 user 7 critic

The Benson Murder Case (1930)

Passed | | Crime, Mystery, Thriller | 13 April 1930 (USA)
A ruthless, crooked stockbroker is murdered at his luxurious country estate, and detective Philo Vance just happens to be there; he decides to find out who killed him.


Frank Tuttle


S.S. Van Dine (novel), Bartlett Cormack (scenario)


Cast overview:
William Powell ... Philo Vance
William 'Stage' Boyd ... Harry Gray (as William Boyd)
Eugene Pallette ... Sgt. Ernest Heath
Paul Lukas ... Adolph Mohler
Natalie Moorhead ... Fanny Del Roy
Richard Tucker ... Anthony Benson
May Beatty ... Mrs. Paula Banning
E.H. Calvert ... Dist. Atty. John F.X. Markham
Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

At the end of each year, the extremely wealthy but odious Greene family gets together at the spooky old family castle to establish terms of a will, though they despise each other. This year... See full summary »

Director: Frank Tuttle
Stars: William Powell, Florence Eldridge, Ullrich Haupt
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A beautiful showgirl, nicknamed 'the Canary', is a scheming nightclub singer. Blackmailing is her game and soon ends up dead. But who killed 'the Canary'. All the suspects who knew her had ... See full summary »

Directors: Malcolm St. Clair, Frank Tuttle
Stars: William Powell, Jean Arthur, James Hall
Certificate: Passed Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Philo Vance, accompanied by his prize-losing Scottish terrier, investigates the locked-room murder of a prominent and much-hated collector whose broken Chinese vase provides an important clue.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: William Powell, Mary Astor, Eugene Pallette
Certificate: Passed Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

When the body of a man nicknamed "Cock Robin" is found with an arrow in the heart on an archery range along with a chess bishop as a clue, Philo Vance investigates.

Directors: David Burton, Nick Grinde
Stars: Basil Rathbone, Leila Hyams, Roland Young
Certificate: Passed Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

After socialite Lynn Llewwllen receives an anonymous threat, he is poisoned at his uncle's casino, and although he recovers, his wife is murdered by the same killer.

Director: Edwin L. Marin
Stars: Paul Lukas, Alison Skipworth, Donald Cook
Certificate: Passed Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Two people with ties to rich murdered socialite Lowe Hammle die from unusual suicides but Vance suspects hypnosis and foul play.

Director: Edwin L. Marin
Stars: Edmund Lowe, Virginia Bruce, Benita Hume
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The Stann family gives a small party prior to daughter Bernice's marriage to socialite Monty, but all of the guests seem to be against the match.

Director: H. Bruce Humberstone
Stars: Warren William, Margaret Lindsay, Lyle Talbot
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Shady stockbroker and abusive husband Gerald Parker is found dead in the penguin pool of a NYC aquarium after being knocked cold by his wife's boyfriend.

Director: George Archainbaud
Stars: Edna May Oliver, Robert Armstrong, James Gleason
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An explosives manufacturer suspects a young man is out to kill him. He calls in new parents Nick and Nora to sort things out.

Director: W.S. Van Dyke
Stars: William Powell, Myrna Loy, Virginia Grey
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Nick and Nora are at their wisecracking best as they investigate murder and racketeering at a local race track.

Director: W.S. Van Dyke
Stars: William Powell, Myrna Loy, Barry Nelson
The 9th Guest (1934)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Eight strangers are invited to spend the night in a penthouse apartment. After being wined and dined, a voice on the radio informs them that they will be murdered unless they manage to outwit the ninth guest: Death.

Director: Roy William Neill
Stars: Donald Cook, Genevieve Tobin, Hardie Albright
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A down and out private eye falls for a woman he has been hired to frame.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: William Powell, Margaret Lindsay, Ruth Donnelly




A murder takes place virtually in front of Philo Vance's eyes which, for all intents and purposes, should mean that even Sergeant Heath could solve it and Philo can go back home. Not quite, and neither can Philo Vance for a long period of time. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Don't Try to Solve This One..Watch Philo Vance Do It! (Print Ad- Salt Lake Telegram, ((Salt Lake City, Utah)) 25 April 1930) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The screen rights for the original 1926 source novel, the first in the Philo Vance series, was purchased by Paramount from author S.S. Van Dine for $17,500. See more »


Followed by Philo Vance's Secret Mission (1947) See more »

User Reviews

The last and the best of the Paramount Philo Vance films
11 October 2015 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

The Benson Murder Case is the best of the three Philo Vance movies that Powell made at Paramount. That was partly because of advances in sound technology and partly because this script is more complex and the characters are more fleshed out.

Anthony Benson is a stock broker - and he does not seem to be a crooked one as the synopsis states, though he is a bit of a rogue. The day is that of the great stock market crash, October 1929. As so many brokers did, those investors that had their stocks bought on margin were sold out when they could not cover those margins, and many lost everything.

Add to this the complication of several people who have personal grudges against Benson that have nothing to do with the crash - two of which break into Benson's mansion that night - and you have a large number of suspects and a rather complex plot. Philo Vance (William Powell) comes calling on Benson that night and is having a discussion with dapper gangster Harry Gray (William Stage Boyd) about how Vance has only been able to solve the murders he has because the perpetrators were not professionals. At just about that time a shot rings out and Benson - minus the toupee he always wore if he was in the presence of anyone - rolls down the stairs, dead at Vance's feet.

So here Vance has a house full of people who are glad to see Benson dead, yet they all seem to have alibis, and you have some proof (the missing toupee) that Benson must have been alone when he died, yet he did not commit suicide! What a mystery Vance must unravel, but he does.

This one will keep you guessing as it is not quite so easy to figure out as the others. Also, there are a couple of other mysteries that Vance figures out but keeps mum about because they have nothing to do with the murder and because he is such a gentleman.

I'd say watch this one, but watch it carefully, because there is quite a bit going on. Thus the plot is good and it is another fine chance for William Powell and Eugene Palette, as Vance's police detective friend, to show off their acting abilities.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 11 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

13 April 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Benson-mysteriet See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (MovieTone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Recently Viewed