Mary Whitman has gone to Reno to obtain a divorce. While there she is arrested on suspicion of murdering a fellow guest at her hotel (which specializes in divorcers). There are many others at the hotel who wanted the victim out of the way. Charlie comes from his home in Honolulu to solve the murder. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Besides Sidney Toler as Charlie Chan, this film's cast contained three other actors who also played famous crimefighters: Ricardo Cortez (Sam Spade in the 1931 "Maltese Falcon"), Morgan Conway (Dick Tracy in two RKO films in the mid-1940's) and Robert Lowery (Batman in the Columbia serial "The Adventures of Batman and Robin" in 1948). See more »
When Charlie is examining the police photos of Mrs. Bentley's body, they show her beauty mask tied around her head. But the mask was untied by the desk clerk to identify the victim, before the police are ever called. See more »
Toler is fine, though the mystery itself is only so-so.
The films Charlie Chan films that Sidney Toler made for Fox were very good--much better than the later cheaper series from Monogram Pictures. In fact, these Fox films were good enough that the public warmly embraced the actor who took over the role following Warner Oland's death. Now this doesn't mean that Toler was exactly like Oland--there were definite differences in the characterizations. First, there were less of the wise Chinese sayings and more cranky comments (usually directed at #2 Son, Jimmy). Second, Toler seemed less passive and more like a real detective. Still, I missed Oland but must admit that Toler was the right man to fill in for him.
As for this film in particular, Toler and Jimmy are just fine and I have no complaints about their acting or characters. However, when it comes to the murder plot, this one was much more convoluted and tough to believe than most. When they find the actual murderer at the end, you are left feeling like they just picked that person at random--especially since the motivation this person had seemed tenuous at best. Still, not a bad film at all--enjoyable throughout.
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