James S. Burkett for Monogram
directed by William Beaudine
starring Roland Winters, Mantan Moreland, Tim Ryan, Victor Sen Yung, Deannie Best, Tristram Coffin, John Alvin, Russell Hicks, Pierre Watkin, Philip Van Zandt, Milton Parsons, Olaf Hytten, Erville Alderson, George Eldredge, Willie Best, Charles Sullivan, Eddie Coke, Chabing
story by Samuel Newman, screenplay by Samuel Newman, Scott Darling, additional dialogue by Tim Ryan, based on characters created by Earl Derr Biggers, musical direction by Edward J. Kay
Charlie Chan, Charlie Chan (Roland Winters), Charlie Chan at Monogram
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A judge (Pierre Watkin) is killed, then a district attorney (Russell
Hicks), and fingerprints found at the scene of the crime suggest they had
been killed by the same man - Pindello, a man they put to the chair 6
months ago. The grave of Pindello though is found empty. So, have the dead
returned to kill those responsible for their deaths?
but what other explanation could there be? Fortunately, Charlie Chan
(Roland Winters) is at hand to investigate - rather by chance, actually,
because he had to spring his son (Victor Sen Yung) and his driver (Mantan
Moreland) out of jail -, and he soon uncovers quite a few things, like the
fact that Pindello might have been sent to the chair innocently, and the
dead judge and the dead district attorney might have been part of an
insurance fraud racket. Eventually, Chan runs into Pindello's brother
Joseph (Philip Van Zandt), who seems to be snooping around in the judge's
and the district attorney's affairs, and he admits to have stolen the body
of his brother from his grave - to give him a decent burial. But he had
nothing to do with the murders. Chan believes him and proposes a plan ...
gathers all the suspects in the case to his house to reveal the killer -
when Joseph Pindello enters, gun drawn, to hold everybody at gunpoint ...
but he's overcome by Chan's son, upon which Edward Seward (Tristram
Coffin), the attorney of the two murder victims, gets hold of the gun,
reveals himself to be the killer, as he also was in on the insurance scam
and wanted to increase his share, and now tries to get away with blazing
guns. But Charlie has forseen this, and has made sure that Joseph, working
under his orders, brought an empty gun. Seward is easily overcome, and
justice is served.
One of the lesser Charlie Chan
films, this one consists mainly of far-fetched plottwists, surprises that
come out of nowhere and make little sense, obvious plotholes and the like.
Also a healthy balance between the comedy and the mystery aspects of the
story is never found, and somehow the film seems to wander to its
pulled-out-of-the-hat solution rather aimlessly.
Not really worth your