London: Sir Mannering (Claude King) doesn't approve at all of her niece
Eve's (Lois Moran) boyfriend Eric Durand (Philip Strange), so he sends an
investigator (Edgar Norton) to dig up dirt on Durand. But before that
investigator can deliver he is found dead, murdered. Curiously enough he
is wearing a certain pair of Chinese slippers ...
Not only has his
investigator been found murdered, on the same day Mannering also learns
that Eve has married Eric just the day before. Mannering disowns Eve, and
she and Eric soon leave for India, her heart half broken.
In India, Eve
has to find out that Eric isn't half the man she had expected him to be,
he's just a useless slob - and when she finds out that he has a) and
affair with their housemaid (Mercedes De Valasco), and b) has acutally
killed the investigator uncle has sent after him, she runs away and hooks
up with a caravan to Persia headed by John Beetham (Warner Baxter), a man
who has long admired, even loved her, but whose advances she has spurned
in favour of Eric's - something she regrets now. On their trip through the
desert though, John and Eve do become lovers and do get intimate ...
the meantime, Eric receives a visit from inspector Bruce (Gilbert Emery),
who's still investigating the murder back in London, and who tells Eric he
has found out the Chinese slippers the dead investigator wore actually
belonged to John Beetham. Furthermore he thinks that Beetham is
accompanied by Eric's wife - which almost forces Eric to join thge
inspector in his expedition to catch up with Beetham's caravan.
learns who has entered their camp, she hides from the visitors, and
against all expectations, the inspector is aiding her - but then asks
Beetham to make Eve visit him in Tehran, when Eric's no longer around. Eve
though has in the meantime made a hasty escape to God knows where ...
Francisco: Eve is working as an elevator contuctor now and hopes for
anonymity, but soon eough her past catches up with her: First she learns
that Beetham is in town to do a lecture on their trip through India and
Persia, then Eric crosses her path and tries to force her to hand him over
a certain letter, the one evidence of his guilt, and when she has shaken
him and returns home, she finds someone has searched her room and took
afore-mentioned letter, a certain detective named Charlie Chan (E.L.
It all leads to a showdown during Beetham's lecture where Eric
tries to shoot Eve but inspector Bruce catches the bullet meant for her,
Charlie Chan shoots Eric dead, and the lovers - Eve and Beetham - are
Boris Karloff plays Beetham's manservant.
film is significant for two reasons: a) It's the first talking picture
featuring Oriental supersleuth Charlie Chan, and b) it's Fox
Film's first Charlie Chan picture. That said though, Charlie Chan
is a mere unimportant supporting character in the movie and doesn't appear
even until the last 10 or so minutes (of about 90).
A film featuring not
enough Charlie Chan isn't automatically a bad film though, right?
but this film is bad for a whole lot of other reasons, and most of them
have to do with the film being an early sound picture: The whole thing is
shot in an awfully stagey way, quite probably because each scene's setup
was dictated by the position of the sound equipment rather than by
dramaturgical necessity. Also, pretty much all of the actors declaim their
lines rather than putting much emotion into them. And some of the acting
(especially Philip Strange) is so terribly ham it seems to have jumped
right out of a bad silent flick.
Add to this a not terribly interesting
story told at a way too slow pace, and you've got ... well, not very much.