Detective James Lee Wong is on the scene as archaeologist Dr. John Benton, recently returned from an expedition in China where a valuable ancient scroll was recovered, is murdered while giving a lecture on the expedition.
Charlie is the intended murder victim here, and he avoids death only by chance. To find the murderer (since, of course, murder does occur), Charlie must outguess Scotland Yard and New York City police.
John G. Blystone
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
Gabe Taverney (email@example.com)
The title card on the DVD, which comes from the original negative, bears the original title, "Black Magic", but revisionists have superimposed "original title: 'Meeting at Midnight'" across the bottom of the screen. They've got it backwards. "Meeting at Midnight" was the new title attached to the film, about five years after its original release, in order to avoid confusion with Orson Welles' Black Magic (1949). See more »
When Charlie first declares himself psychic to Sgt. Matthews, we can see the pole held by a stagehand that makes a white handkerchief flutter over Charlie's head. See more »
In a break from the typical Chan pattern Charlie is aide by his daughter this time. Interestingly he treats much better than he he ever did any of his boys.
This concerns a murder at a seance and more following. Its far from the best of the Chans, but at the same time its far from the worst, especially in light of there not being a son to get into mischief. Its the atypical nature that lifts it up from being a purely run of the mill story. Granted if you've not seen a good number of the Chan films the small differences may not seem like much, but for those of us who've seen every appearance its the little things that count.
7 out of 10 for those looking for a break in the Chan formula, 6 out of 10 for everyone else.
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