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 (email@example.com)
The mounted gargoyle head in the scientist's lab is able to swivel, following Birmingham's movements due to photo-electric sensor, yet when knocked over in gunfire, it's shown to be constructed on a simple wooden mount (a pole with a circular base) with no wiring involved whatsoever. See more »
As the Chans progressed the quality varied. They began a slide one they moved to Monogram studios. While not as good as the earlier big budget films they never the less remained entertaining.
This is I think the first of the Monograms and its one of the best of that later period. Certainly its memorable as the introduction of Birmingham Brown, a character played by Mantan Moreland to the end of the series. Generally his appearance denotes whether it one of the greater or lesser Chan films.(Although the reason the films are lesser is due to the patchwork style, reuse of sets and middling writing)
Here the plot concerns the death of an inventor for the war effort, a plot that was reused several times in a row. Its clever with out being obtuse and you'll probably guess the killer, which isn't always easy since Monogram often didn't play fair.
Definitely worth a look.
7 out of 10.
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