Eccentic, elderly matron Patience Nodbury has a treasure map she's inherited from Black Hook, her pirate ancestor. To foil a mysterious thief who has tried to steal it, she divides it into four pieces, three of which she gives to fellow passengers booked to sail on the Suva Star, an old wooden sailing ship chartered for a treasure hunt on an offshore island. She is convinced that, according to family tradition, Black Hook will visit her before she dies. When the peg-legged "ghost" does just that, and she suffers a fatal heart attack, Charlie and Jimmy are faced with a boatload of red herrings including Bill Lydig, an escaped convict, Gene LaFarge, a certifiable neurotic accompanied by a personal psychiatrist, and the embittered Captain Kane, who was marooned on a deserted island by his ex-partner and vows revenge. Written by
This film was first telecast in Detroit Monday 30 November 1953 on WXYZ (Channel 7), in New York City Thursday 4 February 1954 on WCBS (Channel 2), in Los Angeles Saturday 3 July 1954 on KNBH (Channel 4), and in San Francisco Tuesday 16 July 1955 on KRON (Channel 4). See more »
When Charlie is down below inspecting the hold for clues, the parrot disturbs him. The next scene shown at a slight upward angle, shows the open hatch and a view of the daylight sky, you can see one of the ships masts. Through out the movie the action takes place at night. See more »
Dead Men Tell is a very different Chan flick. The budget seems to be virtually non-existent and almost all of the action takes place on a pirate ship (reminiscent of Charlie Chan in Honolulu). The soundtrack is also virtually non-existent but it works to the movie's advantage as it helps build suspense. There are some great camera shots in the movie, the mood is terrific, the setting is great and the characters are fun. Captain Kane in particular is a great character. Jimmy Chan provides the comic relief but there's less then usual. The mood is often as heavy as the fog on the waterfront. The lighting is also spooky, especially on the LaFarge character. The edits are short and quick with no fade outs, adding to the feel of a lower budget. This is a nicely crafted movie with a lot of things going for it and is definitely a hidden gem as it seems to be somewhat of a lost Chan.
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