Billie Bronson secretes a package in the trunk of Charlie Chan aboard a New York-bound transatlantic liner. Chan and his number one son, Lee are met at the pier by Inspector Nelson and two rival reporters, Joan Wendall and Speed Patton. Bille, having left the country hurriedly a year ago when sought as a material witness in a political scandal, has returned to "blow the lid off the town." She follows the Chans to their hotel and attempts to regain her package from the trunk, only to be interrupted by Lee. She then goes to the "Hottentot Club", where "candid-camera night" is in full progress, followed by Lee. Already present are Joan and Speed. Billie is mysteriously murdered and Charlie is summoned from a police banquet in his honor. Present in the room with the body are club manager Johnny Burke; club dancer and Burke's girl-friend Marie Collins and the two reporters. While seeking a motive for the murder, a second killing is discovered in Charlie's hotel room, the package is missing... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Snappy Warner Oland as Charlie Chan murder mystery set at sea and in New York. Oland's slowness in this film is complemented by good direction from an old hand, a total of five writers, and a great supporting cast. Harold Huber, making his Chan debut, plays an active and effective police inspector that works with and not in parallel with Chan. Joan Marsh looks great and turns in a solid performance. Keye Luke is allowed to help rather than hinder the crime solution. I suppose that Joan Woodbury's dancing was all the rage at the time.
Plot involves diary that if published will cause a great deal of harm to a lot of people: `No poison more deadly than ink.' Lots of misdirection with an obvious suspect and another who it appears will be actually guilty: `Murder case like revolving door, when one side close another side open.' In the end, the police and Chan trap the killer but not until Chan reveals clues that the viewer cannot have been aware. Racial slurs against Orientals remain in the series with the New York Police Band playing `Chinatown' in honor of Chan's arrival. Interesting use of `Candid Camera' theme at the Hottentot Club. One of the better Oland Chan films - recommended.
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