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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.




(novel), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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While investigating the theft of antiquities from an ancient tomb excavation , Charlie discovers that the body of the expedition's leader concealed inside the mummy's wrappings.

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When a prominent official is murdered at a banquet honoring Charle Chan, the detective and son Lee team up to expose an opium-smuggling ring.

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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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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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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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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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Mary Whitman, an old friend of Charlie's in Reno for a divorce, finds herself accused of murdering the woman her husband planned to marry after the decree became final.

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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


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


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


CHARLIE CHAN'S Latest Thriller


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Release Date:

21 June 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlie Chan in the Black Camel  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


The unsolved murder of the Hollywood actor, which is an important plot point, was inspired by the unsolved murder of director William Desmond Taylor in 1922. See more »


The plot of this otherwise quite entertaining mystery contains a hole the size of the Grand Canyon. Part of the solution hinges on a close resemblance between a murdered actor and one of the suspects. In fact, two other characters hide portions of a torn photograph to cover up that resemblance - this despite the fact that most of the suspects admit to having been acquaintances (at least!) of said earlier murder victim. All the suspects would, therefore have to have been quite familiar with the resemblance between one of them and the dead actor, and only the murderer (and possibly one or two other characters) would have any reason to conceal the resemblance. Surely the innocent suspects would have immediately have informed Chan of what they knew, yet no-one mentions it! See more »


Charlie Chan: Way to find rabbit's residence is to turn rabbit loose and watch.
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Followed by Charlie Chan's Secret (1936) See more »


Written by Charles E. King
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User Reviews

Fans of Chan will not be disappointed
14 May 2000 | by (Newbury Park,CA,United States) – See all my reviews

One of the very best of the early Charlie Chan films,'The Black Camel' features Warner Oland in his second outing as the Honolulu detective.With actual filming on Hawaiian locations(one of the few that did)the oriental sleuth tries to solve the murder of an unpleasant and very unpopular young actress,sifting through the usual baffling clues,and investigating one of the finest casts of suspects ever assembled for the series:Murray Kinnell,Victor Varconi,Robert Young,Richard Tucker and(fresh from their triumph in 'Dracula')Dwight Frye and Bela Lugosi!Viewers will also enjoy a look at Charlie's domestic life and huge family.In these earlier Chan films much of the basic plotlines followed the stories of Earl Derr Biggers' novels.

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