An ocean liner sinks off Honolulu and Allen Colby, heir to millions, is presumed dead...but local sleuth Charlie Chan is not so sure, and flies to San Francisco to investigate further. Somehow, the missing Colby is there ahead of him...but is knifed in the back before seeing anyone. Further events revolve around spiritualist Mrs. Lowell, her family of suspicious characters, and the spooky, untenanted Colby mansion, where the body turns up during a seance! Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
A murder is revealed at a seance. All in attendance had motive and opportunity. There are a lots of nice tricks employed at the seance that Charlie has to figure out. Even after a plethora of red herrings, it still could be anyone when all are assembled in a typical ending in which Charlie pulls a surprise to reveal the criminal. There is no #1 or #2 son here, and Herbert Mundin, as the butler, who stands in for #1 and #2 to provide the laughs, is really annoyingly silly, more in the mode of Mantan Moreland in the later bad Chan films only minus the racism. However, he gives the crusty matriarch of the family a chance to deliver some rib-tickling lines at his expense. Listen for them. Oland is the best of the Chans and performs the role with dignity and some humor. You get the feeling that, although he isn't a Chinese actor, he respects the character. No "Confucius Say" here. I enjoy watching this film now and again and think anyone into old-style mysteries will too.
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