Thomas P. Manning, businessman and chess expert mysteriously shot in a locked room, dies clutching some chess pieces. Police are baffled, and finally abandon the case. Six months later, victim's daughter Leah Manning, stung by a scurrilous book about the case, enlists the aid of Charlie Chan and Number 3 Son. Additional murders follow, leading to a climactic confrontation in a seemingly deserted "Fun House." Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sidney Toler again reprises most honorable interpretation of Charlie Chan. This time Chan is helping a former police detective(now just a cop) and a beautiful woman out to clear her mother's name in the murder case of her step-father many months ago. It seems he was murdered in his study grasping a bishop from a chess set in the shadow of an ebony Chinese cat statue. Well, this film has a neat and tidy mystery - not too terribly clever or hard to grasp - but highly enjoyable nonetheless. Toler does his best in bringing charm and grace to the role of Chan with always a generous dose of subtle humour. Toler perhaps has too many clichés to throw out, but most of them in this film are amusing and some even telling. Benson Fong is back as #3 son. He and Toler have good chemistry, but he is even better when paired with cab driver/later to be chauffeur Birmingham Brown(played by a great, sometimes forgotten Mantan Moreland). Moreland is just wonderful in his portrayal of a witty, sometimes very blunt/direct working man playing against the characters of Chan and #3 son. Add to this that Moreland is just plain funny. He had me in stitches more than once in this film and every one of his scenes is a real hoot. All the acting is solid if not dazzling in any way. Ian Keith does a particularly solid job as a naysayer to Chan's gift of detection and John Davidson has a good time playing some weird twins Carl and Kurt. While not one of the best Chan films, Charlie Chan in The Chinese Cat is a very entertaining entry.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?