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When a troupe of showgirls with their impresario and press agent vacation at a Malibu Beach resort, two of them are garroted. Charlie takes on the case assisted by Number Two Son Jimmy and faithful chauffeur Birmingham Brown.
Victor Sen Yung
Three men are convicted of bank robberies, the main evidence against them being that their fingerprints were found at the scenes. However, Charlie Chan believes them to be innocent, and his investigation reveals that they are indeed innocent and that their fingerprints were forged and planted in the prison files to frame them. Charlie sets out to uncover the real bank robbers. Written by
Being a detective is an ugly trade.
Ugliest trade sometimes have moment of joy. Even gravedigger know some people for whom he would do his work with extreme pleasure.
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Most of the movies in the Charlie Chan series were bona-fide mysteries that were short on plot credulity and laced with a measure of comic relief throughout. "Dark Alibi" falls in line with this tried and true formula, but somebody dumped in an overload of comedy and nearly spoiled the whole picture. There are a lot of suspects to choose from in the clever plot in which we have to figure out who is the bank robber/murderer who masterminded the crime and used someone else's fingerprints to frame an innocent man. Not bad, huh? Even though the story is a little hard to swallow it gets points for creativity. However...
No question Mantan Moreland is a funny guy and gets a lot of mileage here with his pop-eyed, 'feets-do-your-duty' scared stiff routine. He is almost hung out to dry with it, and coupled with some misguided scenes with Benson Fong as two incompetents, it is all too much. The picture could have been 15 minutes shorter without some of the excruciating hi-jinks involving these two. The cast was a good one, production values were very good and the film did not betray any trace of a Poverty Row production. Recommended for Charlie Chan fans and for those who enjoy a mystery in which the murderer is very tough to spot (and don't worry too much about the details).
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