On a Samoa-bound boat, Charlie Chan (Sidney Toler) meets an agent of
the treasury department (Tristram Coffin), who tries him something about a
shipment of counterfeit bills, but is killed before he can say too much.
Of course, the boat is full of suspects, and of course, more people are
killed, and of course an attempt on Charlie's life is made as well. Soon,
the film focuses on Rona (Gloria Warren) and her boyfriend, the ship's
purser George (Joseph Allen), but for the trained eye of the audience, it
soon becomes clear they are actually the "good couple". Anyways,
another passenger, trader Burke (Dick Elliott), manages to blackmail them
... but is eventually killed by the killer for it.
It's only when the
boat has reached Samoa that Charlie finds out Rona is traveling with
forged papers looking for invaluable pieces of art stolen from her father.
Charlie's son (Victor Sen Yung) and his driver (Willie Best) find both the
counterfeit bills and the artworks Rona is after hidden inside the stuffed
animals delivered to absent-minded professor Martin's (Emmett Vogan) fish
museum - but professor Martin is an unlikely smuggler, and Charlie
outright refuses he's guilty ... and he's soon cornered by the real
smugglers, a couple of local barowners (Rick Vallin, Amira Moustafa) and
an inconspicuous reverend (Leslie Denison), who were all also passengers
on the boat. The real mastermind though turns out to be the reverend's
wife, actually a man in drag (Alan Douglas).
Of course, in the end all
the baddies get their just desserts.
Very mediocre Charlie
Chan movie that never finds the right balance between comedy and
mystery and somehow lacks the certain spark that makes many of the films
in the series (even the late, cheap ones) so enjoyable. Truth to be told,
there are worse Charlie Chan films around, but that doesn't
make this one especially good, either.