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 always enjoyable Charlie Chan (Sidney Toler) works to find out who murdered an inventor and stole his invention in "Charlie Chan in the Secret Service." This film, from 1944, introduces the character of Birmingham Brown (Mantan Moreland). In this, he plays the chauffeur of one of the party guests.
A scientist who is working on an invention to protect Allied ships from torpedoes is being protected by Secret Service. However, on the night he's having a party, he refuses to greet his guests surrounded by Secret Service, so he doesn't want them around. He is almost immediately killed and his invention stolen! Charlie, number three son Tommie (Benson Fong) and daughter Iris arrive to solve the case.
This plot was re-used with different McGuffins several times. I don't watch Charlie Chan for the plots, which is a good thing. I like the characters, Charlie's proverbs, and Charlie's relationship with whatever son is along and Birmingham.
This particular story is perhaps more incongruous than others in that the inventor is working in his home and has a dinner party filled with suspicious characters, and doesn't want the Secret Service. It has one of those scenes of everyone gathered in the living room for the big reveal - and it could be any one of them.
Fun, though I could have done without Iris Chan (Marianne Quon), not a particularly good actress.
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