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Dark Alibi

USA 1946
produced by
James S. Burkett for Monogram
directed by Phil Karlson
starring Sidney Toler, Mantan Moreland, Ben Carter, Benson Fong, Teala Loring, George Holmes, Joyce Compton, John Eldredge, Russell Hicks, Tim Ryan, Janet Shaw, Edward Earle, Ray Walker, Milton Parsons, Edna Holland, Anthony Warde, George Eldredge, Meyer Grace, William Ruhl
screenplay by George Callahan, based on characters created by Earl Derr Biggers, music by Edward J. Kay

Charlie Chan, Charlie Chan (Sidney Toler), Charlie Chan at Monogram

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Thomas Harley (Edward Earle) is convicted for robbing a bank and killing a guard in the process even though he insists he's innocent - but who will believe him, his fingerprints are found all over the bank he claims he's never been to and on the murder weapon? Charlie Chan (Sidney Toler) believes him, that's who, and he agrees to investigate, but time is pressing, it's only 7 days to Harley's execution.

First, Chan examines Harley's alibi - he claims he was locked into a warehouse while the bank robbery occured. He finds out that Johnson (Milton Parsons), the caretaker of the warehouse, is staying at the same boarding house he was staying, he finds out that the letter that lured Harley to the warehouse was written on the typewriter of the boarding house, and that Ms Petrie (Janet Shaw), another one of the lodgers at the boarding house, is actually the wife of Slade (Anthony Warde), a forger serving time at the prison Harley served a sentence 20 years ago.

Chan soon comes to the conclusion that Harley must have been convicted for the crimes on the basis of forged fingerprints, and he eventually gets a labguy to prove that it can be done, too. And eventually, he rounds up several culprits among the lodgers of the boarding house, not only Johnson and Miss Petrie (who gets killed by her accomplices) but also a travelling salesman (Ray Walker) who sold an alarm system to the robbed bank in question. Chan figures Slade must also have been involved, but when he comes to pick him up, 'Slade tries to make an escape with a gun he got from God-knows-where, a gun that eventually backfires, killing him.

This leaves just one question open: How did Slade on the inside get in touch with his accomplices on the outside?

It's the guard (George Holmes) who's dating Harley's daughter (Teaqla Loring), that's who.

Mantan Moreland plays Charlie Chan's driver, Moreland's old comedy partner Ben Carter shows up thrice during the movie and the two go into their rather hilarious infinite talk-routine each time (with Chan joining in the last time), while Benson Fong plays Chan's fittingly confused son.


Ok, so the premise of this film is less than believable, and some of the story is pretty contrived, but as usual in the series, the characters are all very likeable, the comedy and murder mystery aspects of the plot are carefully balanced out, and this one also benefits from a better-than-usual rather dynamic directorial effort.

So ok, if you don't like the Charlie Chan-series as such, don't even bother to watch this one, but if you do, this one's not to be missed.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD