Eccentric scientist Harper lives in a spooky mansion with all the trimmings: hidden lab, secret panels, inscrutable butler, and greedy relatives with unusual talents. When Harper seems to be murdered, Charlie Chan (with the uninvited help of No. 4 son) tries to answer such questions as Where's the body? How can a dead man walk? And how can a secret murder be done in full view of detectives and witnesses? Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
The thirty-seventh of forty-seven Charlie Chan movies. See more »
The key to identifying the murderer is an ear remaining from a broken plaster life-make, reputedly as identifiable as a fingerprint, yet when we earlier see an intact life-mask, the face is precise but the ears are generic globs. See more »
[to Harper over intercom]
I must see you, sir. There's a murderer about the place.
One of your relatives no doubt.
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"The Jade Mask" was made in 1945 and, as was often the case during the war years Charlie Chan movies, there's a McGuffin, some formula or process that will help the war effort. Here, the nutty inventor is paranoid about security so no one in his household knows anything. When he's killed, Chan is brought in, his number four son (Edwin Luke) dragging along behind him.
This film moves slowly, but is brightened by some good dialogue from Sidney Toler and Mantan Moreland, who was always a riot. I know his is a stereotyped character in a way, but in another way, it isn't, as he is treated as an equal by Chan. Frankly without Moreland, a good many of these films would be very boring.
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