7.2/10
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37 user 7 critic

The Black Camel (1931)

Passed | | Crime, Mystery, Thriller | 21 June 1931 (USA)
The unsolved murder of a Hollywood actor several years earlier and an enigmatic psychic are the keys to help Charlie solve the Honolulu stabbing death of a beautiful actress.

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While visiting the circus with his family, Charlie is recruited by the big top's co-owner to investigate threatening letters that he's received.

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When a friend of Charlie's is found kicked to death by his own race horse on board a Honolulu-bound liner, the detective discovers foul play and uncovers an international gambling ring.

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When a strategically important new aerial guidance system is stolen, Charlie traces it to the Berlin Olympics, where he has to battle spies and enemy agents to retrieve it.

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Returning from European exile where she avoided testifying against her criminal associates, a former singer with a tell-all diary is murdered to ensure her silence.

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Charlie tries to discover the identity of a strangler who strikes multiple times on a cruise ship bound from Honolulu to California.

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On the trail of a singer who killed the man she loved in Honolulu, Charlie finds her stabbed to death when he ultimately catches up to her in Rio.

Director: Harry Lachman
Stars: Sidney Toler, Mary Beth Hughes, Cobina Wright
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Tarneverro
...
Shelah Fane
Victor Varconi ...
Robert Fyfe
Murray Kinnell ...
Archie Smith
William Post Jr. ...
Alan Jaynes
...
Jimmy Bradshaw
Violet Dunn ...
Anna the maid
J.M. Kerrigan ...
Thomas MacMasters
Mary Gordon ...
Mrs. MacMasters
Rita Rozelle ...
Otto Yamaoka ...
Kashimo
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Storyline

Movie star Sheila Fayne is seeing wealthy Alan Jaynes while filming in Honolulu, Hawaii, but won't marry him without consulting famed psychic Tanaverro first. Tanaverro confronts her about the unsolved murder of fellow film star Denny Mayo three years earlier, and she decides to reject Jaynes' proposal. When Sheila is found shot to death in her beach-front pavilion, Charlie Chan of the Honolulu Police investigates. Written by Sister Grimm <srgrimm@teleport.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

CHARLIE CHAN'S Latest Thriller


Certificate:

Passed
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Details

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Release Date:

21 June 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlie Chan in the Black Camel  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Of the five Warner Oland Charlie Chan films based on the original Earl Derr Biggers novels, only this one still survives. The other four are believed to have been lost in one of two fires, one in the 1930s and the other in the 1960s. See more »

Goofs

The knife thrown at Chan when he discovers the scratches under the table couldn't possibly have come from the direction it is thrown from. See more »

Quotes

Charlie Chan: Way to find rabbit's residence is to turn rabbit loose and watch.
See more »

Connections

Followed by The Chinese Ring (1947) See more »

Soundtracks

Na Lei O Hawaii
(uncredited)
Written by Charles E. King
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User Reviews

 
Here we go!
30 September 2006 | by (Derby, UK) – See all my reviews

The 2nd real Charlie Chan film, the earliest to survive of the 38 that Warner Oland and then Sidney Toler churned out over the next 16 years for Fox and Monogram. Pretty faithful to Earl Derr Bigger's book, this only suffers mildly from the echoey staginess associated with early talkies, with some erratic acting but also some lovely smoky visuals of "Honolulu".

A woman with a dark past is stabbed to death at a hotel - of course all of the guests along with the butler and maid are involved for Charlie to sort through and mull over. Unravelling the threads of the mystery Charlie proved his eyes had microscopic capabilities (wonder how much DNA fingerprinting would've slowed him down?) - and that he was one of those "very clever men able to bite pie without breaking crust". There's a beautiful scene with the entire Chan Clan at the breakfast table that's worth a look on it's own. It all runs delightfully true to form, the excellent polished cast playing up well, especially young Robert Young and Bela Lugosi.

I can't speak for everyone else of course but I still cherish the hope films 1/3/4/5 will one day be found for the additional 5 hours pleasure.


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