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The Sky Dragon

USA 1949
produced by
James S. Burkett for Monogram
directed by Lesley Selander
starring Roland Winters, Keye Luke, Mantan Moreland, Noel Neill, Tim Ryan, Iris Adrian, Elena Verdugo, Milburn Stone, Lyle Talbot, Paul Maxey, Joel Marston, John Eldredge, Eddie Parks, Louise Franklin, George Eldredge, Lyle Latell, Steve Pendleton, Suzette Harbin
story by Clint Johnson, screenplay by Clint Johnson, Oliver Drake, based on characters created by Earl Derr Biggers

Charlie Chan, Charlie Chan (Roland Winters), Number One Son Lee Chan, Charlie Chan at Monogram

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A money courier is killed during an airplane flight while everybody else (including the pilots) has been knocked out by drugged coffee. When everyone comes to, the courier's money is gone (naturally), and now the police is convinced that one of  the pilots (Milburn Stone) has drugged everyone and then thrown the money overboard. Why the pilot? Because he was the only one to know where to drop the briefcase full of money for his accomplices to pick it up.

Seems like an open and shut case - only Charlie Chan (Roland Winters), one of the plane's passengers, is not so sure, so he starts his own investigations,and he soon comes up with quite a number of suspects, like the shady co-pilot (Joel Marston), an insurance detective with a criminal record (Lyle Talbot) and his burlesque dancer wife (Iris Adrian), the wife's stewardess sister with a criminal past (Elena Verdugo), to name but a few. Unfortunately though, Chan's suspects seem to be dropping like flies, and whoever is offing the suspects also seems to be one step ahead of Chan concerning his investigations, which is why vital evidence keeps disappearing before Chan can gather it.

Ultimately, Chan invites everyone to the airplane where the murder has happened, to reconstruct the crime, and here the culprit finally reveals himself to everyone: Insurance detective Anderson (Paul Maxey), who together with his boss (John Eldredge) has figured out a plot to smuggle the money off the plane undetected and under the eyes of the police. Anderson is not one to give up easily, so he tries to cause the plane to crash and parachute off in time, but ultimately he is overcome by everyone else ...

Keye Luke and Mantan Moreland can be seen as Chan's Number One Son and his driver, respectively, for one last time, while Noel Neill has a rather pale role as a good girl stewardess.

 

The very last of Monogram's Charlie Chan-movies, and watching the movie one can't fail to notice teh whole series has run a bit stale: Sure, the lead characters and their actors are all still likeable, and they do what they're expected to do, but their routines have seen better days. Likewise, the case they are working on is less than exceptionally exciting, and its solution presents itself way too early to the discerning eye ... but none of this triggered the end of the series, probably, after all, worse Charlie Chan-movies have been made prior to this one - it was simply that with the rise of television, many B-movie series lost their swing in the late 1940's, and the B-movie industry as such would undergo a radical transformation in the 1950's.

So what does all of this say about the movie at hand: It's an ok entry into a series that had seen better days, nothing to write home about, but also not painful to watch.

 

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
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

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
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD