Meet Nero Wolfe


1h 13m 1936

Film Details

Also Known As
Fer-de-Lance
Release Date
Aug 1, 1936
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp. of California, Ltd.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp. of California, Ltd.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout (New York, 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 13m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

Soon after E. J. Kimball and his son Manuel meet by chance on the links for a golf foursome with Claude Roberts and Professor Barstow, the father of Claude's fiancée, "Ellen, the professor" suddenly dies of an apparent heart attack. Later, Carlo Maringola, an unemployed gunsmith and beer supplier to reclusive amateur detective and gourmet Nero Wolfe, is discovered dead and is suspected to have died in the same fashion as Barstow. Wolfe soon discovers that Barstow died of a poisoned needle shot into him when his golf club, used as a rifle barrel, was activated by swinging and striking the ball. He then assigns his assistant, Archie Goodwin, to visit Barstow's eccentric widow Sarah, her daughter Ellen, Claude, Manuel and Dr. Bradford, who signed Barstow's death certificate. Wolfe interviews the young caddies from the course where Barstow died and discovers that Barstow was using a golf club from Kimball's bag. After Kimball's chauffeur is killed by a fer-de-lance, a deadly South American snake whose poison was found on the needle that killed Barstow, Claude reluctantly explains to Wolfe that Kimball was tried in Argentina for the murder of his wife, a friend of Sarah's first husband. Wolfe discovers that Sarah's first husband, Ellen's real father, disappeared after the death of Mrs. Kimball and was widely credited with her murder after Kimball's acquittal. A short time later, Wolfe orders Archie to round up Sarah, Ellen and Claude, the Kimballs and Bradford and bring them to his house. Downstairs, Wolfe receives a package disguised as a time bomb and arranges to have the bomb delivered again in front of his guests to trick the culprit into exposing himself. The mystery is solved when Manuel grabs Wolfe's empty gun and announces that he wanted to kill his father to avenge the death of his mother. It is then revealed that Carlo manufactured the trick golf club and was killed to keep him quiet, and that the chauffeur died when he was bitten by a snake intended to attack Kimball. With the murder case closed, Archie finally marries his long-time fiancée, Mazie Gray, and Wolfe gives them a honeymoon in Paris for a wedding present, as well as a new case to work on.

Film Details

Also Known As
Fer-de-Lance
Release Date
Aug 1, 1936
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp. of California, Ltd.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp. of California, Ltd.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout (New York, 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 13m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of the film was Fer-de-Lance. In 1937, Columbia filmed the second of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe novels, The League of Frightened Men. In 1977, a two-hour television series pilot was filmed, entitled Nero Wolfe, starring Thayer David as Wolfe, with Frank Gilroy as writer-director. However, upon David's death the film was shelved for two years before broadcast. In 1981, a fourteen episode NBC television series entitled Nero Wolfe was shown with William Conrad as Wolfe and Lee Horsley as Archie Goodwin.