IMDb > Black Magic (1944)
Black Magic
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Black Magic (1944) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
7.1/10   884 votes »
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Down 12% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Earl Derr Biggers (characters)
George Callahan (original screenplay)
Contact:
View company contact information for Black Magic on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
19 August 1944 (USA) See more »
Tagline:
SCIENCE TRAPS A KILLER! See more »
Plot:
Charlie searches for a murderer amidst numerous ghosts conjured up by a strange variety of spiritualists and occultists. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
NewsDesk:
(31 articles)
Actress Beverly Dies
 (From WENN. 25 July 2011, 9:16 AM, PDT)

'Corpse Bride' Co-Director Mike Johnson To Helm 'Oz Wars,'
 (From The Playlist. 16 December 2010, 12:56 PM, PST)

Putrid Panels - Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950's
 (From Planet Fury. 20 November 2010, 5:22 PM, PST)

User Reviews:
Wonderful Mantan Moreland See more (29 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Sidney Toler ... Charlie Chan
Mantan Moreland ... Birmingham Brown
Frances Chan ... Frances Chan
Joseph Crehan ... Police Sgt. Matthews
Helen Beverly ... Norma Duncan / Nancy Wood (as Helen Beverley)
Jacqueline deWit ... Justine Bonner
Geraldine Wall ... Harriet Green
Ralph Peters ... Officer Rafferty
Frank Jaquet ... Paul Hamlin
Edward Earle ... Dawson, Police Lab
Claudia Dell ... Vera Starkey
Harry Depp ... Charles Edwards
Charles Jordan ... Tom Starkey
Dick Gordon ... William Bonner (as Richard Gordon)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dick Rush ... Policeman (uncredited)
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Directed by
Phil Rosen 
 
Writing credits
Earl Derr Biggers (characters)

George Callahan (original screenplay)

Produced by
James S. Burkett .... producer
Philip N. Krasne .... producer
 
Original Music by
Alexander Laszlo 
 
Cinematography by
Arthur Martinelli 
 
Film Editing by
John F. Link Sr.  (as John Link)
 
Art Direction by
Dave Milton 
 
Set Decoration by
Albert Greenwood  (as Al Greenwood)
 
Production Management
Richard L'Estrange .... production manager (as Dick L'Estrange)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Bobby Ray .... assistant director
 
Art Department
Sam Gordon .... props
 
Sound Department
Max M. Hutchinson .... sound (as Max Hutchinson)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
George Booker .... grip
Earl Crowley .... still photographer
Dave Smith .... camera operator
Monte Steadman .... assistant camera
Joe Wharton .... gaffer
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Harry Bourne .... wardrobe
 
Music Department
David Chudnow .... musical director
 
Other crew
Marie Messinger .... script girl
 
Crew believed to be complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Charlie Chan in Black Magic" - USA (informal alternative title)
"Charlie Chan in Meeting at Midnight" - USA (informal alternative title)
"Meeting at Midnight" - USA (TV title)
See more »
Runtime:
67 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Certification:
Australia:PG | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (video rating) (2004) | USA:Approved

Did You Know?

Trivia:
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 »
Goofs:
Crew or equipment visible: 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 »
Quotes:
Charles Edwards:Your spirits are a long time coming, Mr. Chan.
Charlie Chan:Spirits always have very long way to come.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Followed by Shanghai Chest (1948)See more »

FAQ

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
Wonderful Mantan Moreland, 10 April 2006
Author: Lechuguilla from Dallas, Texas

Nervous and bug-eyed Birmingham Brown (Mantan Moreland) "assists" Charlie Chan and his daughter at the murder investigation in the home of a woman who has a séance business. During one of her sessions, a man is killed, and one of six people at the séance table appears to be the murderer.

Moreland was a great comic actor with tons of talent, and he is one of two reasons to watch this film. The other reason is the high-contrast B&W lighting, that reminds me of some 1940's noir films.

Other than Moreland and the film's lighting, "Black Magic" has little to offer. With a runtime of just 67 minutes the story is razor thin and poorly developed, suggestive of a sketchy, hastily written screenplay. There are several plot holes, and the killer's modus operandi is rather far-fetched.

As in many Chan movies, production design is minimal. And the sets here are a little too familiar. The entry hall in the séance house looks exactly like the entry hall used in the Chan movie "The Jade Mask". And the elevator set here looks like the elevator set used in the Chan movie "The Scarlet Clue". But Monogram Studios had the reputation for being cheap. And in this film ... it shows.

Even so, I can see how this film might have appealed to viewers in the 1940s, particularly as a Saturday afternoon matinée feature. In its time it probably was delightfully entertaining and a welcome diversion from the grim business of WWII.

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