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)
This movie has some of the best film noir photography I have seen in all the Charlie Chan entries. This is one I am still waiting to have issued on DVD, so I can enjoy those visuals.
Storywise, it's a decent story with an interesting cast of suspects. My complaint is fairly minor: it is a little below-average in the amount of humorous Charlie Chan proverbs that we Chan fans love so much. Otherwise, I enjoyed the movie.
Although not Charlie's official chauffeur-assistant in here as he was in most of these Monogram Chan films, Mantan Moreland ("Birmingham Brown") plays his usual role as a guy helping out and adding humor. He's a likable guy as are all of Charlie's kids, two of them joining in this mystery. We get Number Three Son "Tommie" (Benson Fong) and daughter "Iris" (Marianne Quon. Chan's kids are always nosy, goodhearted and, in the latter-day films, not that helpful.
A few quick action scenes help keep things rolling and, as usual, we get Charlie's summary of the case at the end in which our hero exposes the crook. Overall, is this a great Charlie Chan film? No, it's average....but just average is still good to me. I love these films and hope all of them eventually are available on disc.
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