Movie Review: The Dragon Murder Case (1934)

Synopsis: While visiting his fiancee's family, Monty Montague dives into their "dragon pool" and doesn't resurface. When his body is found, there is no water in the lungs and claw marks on his body. The family matriarch blames a mystical beast she believes lives in the water of the pool. However, private detective Philo Vance thinks there is a murderer in the house.

Who's in it? The movie stars Warren William, Margaret Lindsay, Lyle Talbot, Eugene Pallette and George Meeker.

Review: I came across this movie a couple weeks ago and added it to my library for when I was in the mood for a classic murder mystery. I finally had a chance to watch it this morning and, overall, wasn't overly impressed with it.

The overall movie was about what I was expecting it to be, with a good mix of lighthearted jokes and conversations mixed in with a more serious plot. This was especially true of Vance (William), who always seemed to have a smirk on his face. While not necessarily a bad thing, it did make it a little harder to take things seriously.

At first, I thought this was going at least be a good murder mystery, especially since Montague (Meeker) seemed to be disliked by pretty much everyone in the house. They way he was murdered was definitely intriguing (though I didn't buy the whole mythical beast story for a second). Unfortunately, it was just too easy to figure out who the killer was. In fact, I figured it out before Montague was even killed. Once that happened the mystery just didn't seem as interesting, especially when the "how" was revealed.

As a result, I kept hoping this movie would have a surprise twist, such as Meeker still being alive and his secret twin being at the bottom of the pool. When that didn't happen, I wouldn't go as far as to say I was disappointed, just uninterested.

Final Opinion: I like classic murder mysteries but this is one that I thought was kind of forgettable overall.

My Grade: C-


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