A scientist working on an important new invention which will protect Allied shipping from U-boat torpedoes has been assigned Secret Service security protection. Amazingly, despite the fact that his laboratory and experiments are located on the upper floor of his Washington mansion, he decides to host a cocktail party for friends on the first floor. Even though several of his guests are foreign nationals with shadowy pasts, he refuses to allow his bodyguards to attend because their presence might offend them. When he is killed by unknown means before joining them, the resultant summary investigation includes Honolulu detective Charlie Chan and children Tommy and Iris, later joined by Birmingham Brown, the chauffeur of one of the guests. When a preliminary autopsy reveals the scientist was electrocuted, Charlie and his associates must decide which of the suspects and red herrings is the guilty party. Written by
Gabe Taverney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The thirty-first of forty-seven Charlie Chan movies. See more »
Much is made over the fact that Dr. Melton, the murder victim,
was left-handed. Yet, earlier, he was seen doing various things, such as taking notes, opening a door, and turning on the fatal light switch, all with his right hand. See more »
After a two year hiatus, the Charlie Chan series moved over to Monogram from 20th Century Fox and the production values dropped accordingly. Continuing as Charlie Chan was Sidney Toler who with one exception would confine his thespian activities to playing the shrewd Oriental detective who spoke in fortune cookie aphorisms. Assisting Charlie in a manner of speaking are two offspring Benson Fong as number 2 son Tommy and Marianne Quon as number 1 daughter.
Charlie Chan In The Secret Service, the title does say it all. Charlie is called in as a consultant on a murder case by the Secret Service which was guarding a scientist/socialite who worked at home upstairs and threw parties downstairs. At one of those parties he winds up quite dead with no outward appearance of homicide. He also would not allow any bodyguards inside the house. That was a bit much, the President of the United States can't override their presence much less a scientist.
Toler deduces first that it was a murder, second the method used, and lastly who did it. Then his culprit also is killed with a silent gunshot and Charlie then has to find the accomplice.
This was one of the only Chans at least in the Monogram films that had a wartime related plot to it. Amazing how many foreign nationals could get close to a scientist working on a government project with no kind of clearance.
The film has one very large red herring as the plot lets you in on a secret one of the suspects has. Because the secret is divulged early you know this can't be the culprit. The real culprit will surprise you though.
The character of Birmingham Brown is introduced who in two films later would wind up employed as the Chan family chauffeur. For now he's the chauffeur of one of the invited guests and apparently Toler deduced early on he wasn't the murderer because he gets in on the investigation, albeit reluctantly with the Chan kids.
A lot of plot holes, typical of a Monogram Picture are in this one. But I did like the ending.
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