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Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum (1940)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 6 September 1940 (USA)
An escaped convicted murderer hides out at a New York wax museum where he hopes to get plastic surgery, which will help him revenge himself on Charlie Chan.

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(original screen play) (as John Larkin), (based on the character created by: Charlie Chan)
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Certificate: Passed Comedy | Crime | Mystery
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Charlie tries to discover the identity of a strangler who strikes multiple times on a cruise ship bound from Honolulu to California.

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When Charlie's old friend from Scotland Yard is murdered when they attend a police convention in New York, Chan picks up the case he was working on.

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When a strategically important new aerial guidance system is stolen, Charlie traces it to the Berlin Olympics, where he has to battle spies and enemy agents to retrieve it.

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A treasure map in four pieces, the ghost of a hanged pirate, a talking parrot, and a ship full of red herrings complicate Charlie's search for a murderer on board a docked ship.

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While investigating the theft of antiquities from an ancient tomb excavation, Charlie discovers that the body of the expedition's leader concealed inside the mummy's wrappings.

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On the trail of a singer who killed the man she loved in Honolulu, Charlie finds her stabbed to death when he ultimately catches up to her in Rio.

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While Charlie is distracted with the birth of his first grandchild, son Jimmy impersonates his father in order to investigate a murder aboard a freighter in the harbor.

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Mary Whitman, an old friend of Charlie's in Reno for a divorce, finds herself accused of murdering the woman her husband planned to marry after the decree became final.

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Inspector Chan investigates a group of travelers, one of whom is a saboteur.

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A dangerous amnesiac escapes from an asylum, hides in the opera house, and is suspected of getting revenge on those who tried to murder him 13 years ago.

Director: H. Bruce Humberstone
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Jimmy Chan (as Sen Yung)
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Ted Osborne ...
Tom Agnew (as Ted Osborn)
Michael Visaroff ...
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Charles Wagenheim ...
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Carter Lane
Eddie Marr ...
Grenock (as Edward Marr)
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Edwards
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Storyline

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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A chamber of horrors becomes a murder hideout! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

6 September 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlie Chan en el museo de cera  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The wax head near the mummy case appears to be modeled after Clark Gable. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Charlie Chan: Only very foolish mouse makes nest in cat's ear.
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Connections

Followed by Charlie Chan in Rio (1941) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Spooky times in the Chamber of Horrors
2 July 2002 | by See all my reviews

Excellent series entry and one of Sidney Toler's best Chan films. New direction by Lynn Shores gives this series a new look and feel. The most significant feature of this film is the mixing of suspicious characters with very realistic wax figures in the dark dungeon-like Dr. Cream's Chamber of Horrors on the New York waterfront (admission 25¢) Naturally it is raining outside most of the time (thunder and lightening to boot) and the lights keep going out.

Witty dialog add to the enjoyment. Chan provides his usual pearls of wisdom: `Knowledge only gained through curiosity,' `Mice only play when cat supposed to be in bed,' and `Sometimes better to see and not tell…' We can thank writer John Larkin who also penned a few other good Chan films including `Charlie Chan at Treasure Island.'

The story unfolds quickly and the comic relief provided by Jimmy Chan is more subtle than it other entries. Plenty of suspects, lots of misdirection, more than enough clues, and in the end Chan reveals what he knew that could not be known by the viewer; i.e. you can only guess who is the killer. Nevertheless, just sit back and enjoy this one. My wife even liked it. Highly recommended.


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