After receiving congratulations from the Home Secretary for solving his most recent case, Charlie is sought out by Pamela Gray, a beautiful but desperate young socialite whose brother Paul awaits execution for the murder of a weapons inventor. She is so convinced of his innocence that she becomes distraught when she overhears Neil Howard, her brother's lawyer and her fiancee, confide to the detective his belief in his client's guilt. Angered at this disclosure, she returns his ring and breaks off the engagement. Although the execution will take place in 65 hours, Charlie pledges to expose the murderer. All potential suspects are reassembled in the country mansion of family friend Geoffrey Richmond, where the murder took place, as Charlie tries to expose the real murderer before time runs out. Written by
Gabe Taverney (email@example.com)
Chronologically it's the 2nd Chan film extant after Black Camel, 4 others remain lost - Charlie is either getting into his stride in this or had already done so previously! The formula was in place, all they had to do from now on was reprise it with variations a couple of times a year. Whenever on TV in the past it always appeared murky to me but the copy I've just seen was pristine, with an astonishingly clear soundtrack.
Paul Gray is incarcerated in Pentonville for murder but in a few days time is to hang his sister believes him innocent, and apparently so does Charlie as he postpones his voyage to Honolulu to help them out. When arriving at the country house in Retfordshire where the deed was done he finds himself up against a wall of suspicious British stereotypes, ranging from Cockney idiots and brusque snobs to out and out racists, which of course he continually uses to his advantage in his unravelling of the case. And he unravels it perfectly, with a plethora of marvellous aphorisms and red herrings, but as so often had to happen also with a fool-the-murderer-into-finally-exposing-him/herself denouement.
Swedish Warner Oland gave a wonderfully urbane performance as usual as the Chinese detective. Sadly as time goes on it's shown less and less on TV, partly because the schedulers who may not want to offend Chinese sensibilities also prefer to show violent and deviant films to the public instead, and partly because the public want it that way too. Hunt a copy down and revel in it!
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