"Calamity Town" by Ellery Queen

Classic Murder Mysteries, Who-Done-Its and Detective Films

"Calamity Town" by Ellery Queen

ewrjk
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ewrjk
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Joined: March 13th, 2017, 4:29 am

July 6th, 2018, 8:49 am #1

In the 30s and 40s, if a mystery story was filmed, it was generally done as a low-budget B-movie.

Does anyone else here think that Calamity Town by Ellery Queen should have been filmed in the early forties as a full-length film which would have been very faithful to the novel?

I think it would have worked. This tearjerker of a mystery story has everything to it which would have worked back then: small-town atmosphere, wartime background, the mystery itself, a love triangle (a young lady, her boyfriend, and Ellery), tragedy during the story, a court case, and a good ending (parts of which were predictable, but still good). 

I wish that this story had been filmed in the early forties. A lost opportunity. It's one of the best Ellery Queen mysteries out there, in my opinion.
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will
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Joined: November 17th, 2009, 2:23 am

July 6th, 2018, 9:27 am #2

I bummed out on Ellery Queen when I tried to read The Roman Hat Mystery.
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ewrjk
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ewrjk
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Joined: March 13th, 2017, 4:29 am

July 7th, 2018, 5:42 am #3

I found that the Ellery Queen stories (which I read) were either very good or very irritating.

In the early stories, Ellery seemed to function like a robot. However, I did like both The Siamese Twins Mystery and The Spanish Cape Mystery.

The Door Between is a brilliant story with one of the best mystery endings ever (right up there with Chesterton's The Eye of Apollo).

Calamity Town has a completely different feel to it. Ellery is actually human in that story. It's a story which would have worked perfectly as a two-hour long movie back in the day.

The Ellery Queen radio plays are worth hearing. They have a light-hearted mood to them. Ellery, his dad, Sgt Velie, and Ellery's secretary Nikki team up to solve the crimes. I think that the 70s EQ series captured the mood/style of the radio plays.
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Salzmank
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Joined: October 12th, 2016, 3:27 pm

Yesterday, 1:12 am #4

will wrote: I bummed out on Ellery Queen when I tried to read The Roman Hat Mystery.
That one’s worse than bad—it’s just absurdly boring. I suggest trying one of the ones ewrjk suggested; I’d particularly suggest the books from Halfway House on. 
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Salzmank
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Joined: October 12th, 2016, 3:27 pm

Yesterday, 1:23 am #5

Long time no see, ewrjk!

I’d be interested in seeing a Calamity Town movie too… I did imagine a Ten Days’ Wonder adaptation the other day:
Ten Days’ Wonder (1949, based on a book by Ellery Queen)

Ellery Queen…………...Franchot Tone
Howard van Horn…….Burt Lancaster
Diedrich van Horn……Ray Collins
Sally van Horn…………Rita Hayworth
Wolfert van Horn…….Henry Daniell

directed by Orson Welles
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