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Dead Men Tell (1941)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Mystery  |  28 March 1941 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 782 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 5 critic

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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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Sheila Ryan ...
Robert Weldon ...
Steve Daniels
Victor Sen Yung ...
Jimmy Chan (as Sen Yung)
...
Jed Thomasson (as Don Douglas)
...
Laura Thursday (as Katharine Aldridge)
Paul McGrath ...
Mr. Parks
...
Bill Lydig
Truman Bradley ...
Capt. Kane
...
Miss Patience Nodbury
Lenita Lane ...
Dr. Anne Bonney
Milton Parsons ...
Gene LaFarge
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Storyline

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 (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

SPINE-CHILLING MYSTERY AND HILARIOUS ADVENTURES ABOARD A TREASURE SHIP! (original print ad-all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 March 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlie Chan in Dead Men Tell  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The twenty-eighth of forty-seven Charlie Chan movies. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Inspector Vessey: [Referring to Jimmy] Kid's got a head on his shoulders.
Charlie Chan: Very good news if true.
See more »

Connections

Follows Charlie Chan's Greatest Case (1933) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Atmospheric murder mystery aboard sinister ship in dimly lit harbor
26 September 2012 | by (Minnesota) – See all my reviews

A "treasure hunt cruise" is all lined up—but the ship never leaves the dock in this mystery featuring a pirate ghost, a treasure map, a couple of murders, and the usual lineup of suspicious characters.

Jimmy Chan helps get the action started by sneaking aboard the darkened ship to investigate, his imagination fired by news about the expedition to retrieve $60 million of hidden treasure. Pop Charlie Chan comes looking for Jimmy, intending to take him home—which is how both Chans happen to be on the ship when the first murder occurs.

Sidney Toler is fine as always as the elder Chan; Sen Yung has a larger role than usual as Jimmy, and gives an energetic—practically manic—performance as the would-be detective whose curiosity is matched only by his enthusiasm. Toler and Yung, by now veterans of several films in these roles, complement each other perfectly.

The plot concerns an alleged treasure map, divided into four pieces and distributed among the would-be passengers. When the map's owner (and tour sponsor) is murdered and her map portion disappears, it becomes apparent that someone else on board is out to grab all four sections. Not surprisingly, practically all of the passengers and crew seem to harbor secrets of one kind or another….

The entire film is set inside the ship, outside in the harbor, or in a neighboring waterfront bar…and it all takes place at night. Nicely designed sets and good shadowy photography create an atmosphere that is sinister and just slightly spooky.

Jimmy Chan can't seem to keep out of the water in this one….And my favorite line from the picture is the elder Chan's response to Jimmy's apology for falling in yet again: "Please. Save alibi for autobiography."


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