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Dead Men Tell (1941)

 -  Comedy | Crime | Mystery  -  28 March 1941 (USA)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 702 users  
Reviews: 15 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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Title: Dead Men Tell (1941)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Sheila Ryan ...
Kate Ransome
Robert Weldon ...
Steve Daniels
Victor Sen Yung ...
Jimmy Chan (as Sen Yung)
Donald Douglas ...
Jed Thomasson (as Don Douglas)
Kay Aldridge ...
Laura Thursday (as Katharine Aldridge)
Paul McGrath ...
Charles Thursday / Mr. Parks
...
Bill Lydig
Truman Bradley ...
Capt. Kane of the Suva Star
...
Miss Patience Nodbury
Lenita Lane ...
Dr. Anne Bonney
Milton Parsons ...
Gene LaFarge
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Fay Helm ...
Undetermined Secondary Role (scenes deleted)
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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:

Aboard a treasure ship Chan battles his most elusive adversary... the ghost of a pirate 100 years dead!


Certificate:

Approved
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Details

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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

Bill Lydig: [looking at treasure map] Is it the real McCoy?
Charlie Chan: Quite possible McCoy.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Castle in the Desert (1942) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Charlie shipboard; Jimmy in the water
3 January 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Dead Men Tell" is an enjoyable Charlie Chan mystery from 1941. People gather for a treasure hunt via ship to an island, based on a map an elderly woman, Patience Nodbury, inherited from her ancestor, a pirate named Black Hook. Since someone has attempted to steal the map, she's divided it into four pieces and gives three pieces to three passengers.

Patience says that Black Hook visits each relative before they die, and Black Hook visits her, all right, but in this case, he kills her. Charlie and Jimmy want to solve her murder, and they have plenty of suspects. There's a man posing as a reporter, Bill Lydig (George Reeves), a neurotic man, Gene LaFarge, who has a psychiatrist with him, and the captain, Captain Kane, whose ex-partner left him to do on a deserted island.

Dark, atmospheric film with Jimmy (Victor Sen Yung) in trouble most of the time. Toler has an authoritative presence as Charlie. He's less whimsical than Warner Oland, and his gruff voice gives his line readings a nice sarcasm. He tells Jimmy "Save alibi for your autobiography." One thing I noticed is, though these films have been criticized for not being politically correct, in the bar scene, no one calls Jimmy derogatory names. They make fun of him, but no one acts as if he looks different. In fact, I have never picked up anything like that in any film, directed at Charlie or one of his children. It seems to me that these are films of their time, which make them un-p.c. by today's enlightened standards, but the writers never meant to be deliberately insulting. Just an interesting thought, as the days of casting someone Chinese as Chinese were a long way off.


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