A wax museum run by a demented doctor contains statues of such crime figures as Jack the Ripper and Bluebeard. In addition to making wax statues the doctor performs plastic surgery. It is here that an arch fiend takes refuge. The museum also houses a statue of Charlie. Frustrated number-two son kicks statue in rear; oops, number-two son wrong in his assumption. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
The twenty-fifth of forty-seven Charlie Chan movies. See more »
When Inspector Matthews comes in through the museum window, his coat is wet from the thunderstorm outside. Seconds thereafter, although his face still has rain dripping from it, his coat is now dry. See more »
Of all the Chans that I know, this is both the best and the most interesting.
The setting is really cool. Its a wax museum where contemporary crimes are displayed, using personalities that are alive and are among the statues of themselves. It is also a plastic surgery where crooks get their faces changed. And thirdly it is the site of a broadcast radio show where unsolved crimes are re-enacted on-air.
It sounds complicated, and it is. But it is all done very matter of factly, so that these three very clever notions overlap and sometimes merge. Regular readers of my comments know that I love this sort of stuff, stuff I call "folding." Folding is stuff that plays with the notions of representation, and the fun is in how the movieness can play with itself, presenting to us and at the same time noodling with what it means to present.
Detecting in folds has always been a way of discovering narrative. Charlie Chan mysteries aren't the most cerebral of things along these lines. And the actual mystery here is impossible for the audience to anticipate. Its just revealed.
But in just the form of the thing, its great fun. It even has a chess-playing machine, a pretty savvy reference to a fourth fold. (One of the earliest
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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