Because Charlie Chan plans to return to Honolulu, he no longer needs the services of Birmingham, who gets a job as butler for William and Justine Bonner, two apparently phony psychics who regularly host occult activities in their home. When Charlie's pretty daughter Frances attends a séance out of curiosity, Mr. Bonner is shot, and she becomes an immediate suspect. Charlie postpones his trip home to help with the investigation, which is made problematic when no bullet can be found in the wound and a hypnotized Mrs. Bonner is compelled to commit suicide by jumping off the roof of a downtown building. Written by
This late-entry Charlie Chan movie gets marks simply for the entertainment, not for a deep-thinking suspenseful "whodunnit." It's just fun to watch with an always-smiling daughter (played by Frances Chen) replacing number-whatever-son and the eyes-popping-out-of-the-head Mantan Moreland adding humor, although of his humor is a bit stupid (and insulting to black folks, I'm sure). However, Moreland is a likable guy so it's hard to get annoyed at his silliness.
The story is a familiar one of the day, about the occult (seances) and, thankfully, another that exposes the mediums as crooks.
These Sidney Toler-Mantan Moreland collaborations, as opposed to the early Warner Oland/Charlie Chan movies, replied more on comedy and gimmicks rather than brains, and once you accept that, you just go along with an entertaining hour of lamebrain fun, especially when Chan starts to put people down with his sarcasm.
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