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
Chinese detective Charlie Chan (Sidney Toler) is on his way to San Francisco to take over a murder case when he meets a woman, Mrs. Conover (Mary Gordon), who is searching for her missing daughter and a young man, Jeff Tilford (Bruce Kellogg), who is looking for his missing fiancee. Investigation by Charlie discloses they are both looking for the same girl, Mary Conover (Tanis Chandler). Chan eventually uncovers a murder gang, which has been collecting the life insurance of its victims. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Confucious say sleep is only escape from yesterday"- one of several good Confucius sayings that Charlie comes up with in this movie. In fact, you might notice a number of things in this movie that are worthwhile. Personally, I first noticed the intriguing title, one of the best mystery titles ever- "Shadows Over Chinatown"- a title loaded with mystery.
The blonde actress who plays "Mary Conover" is very poised and is way above average in the looks department, and she does a commendable acting job. And don't you always love the "venerable old lady" (Charlie's words), the dear Mary Gordon. Look for some of the other supporting actors- there are many- and you will notice John Hamilton, a perennial in grade b and c films, obscure here before being immortalized in the "Superman" series on television. He only has a couple of lines and wears a mustache but is another example of what you can find here. Mantan Morland's comedy bits seem thrown together and rushed, but nevertheless he is entertaining as always.
Sidney Toler manages a strong enough and effective starring performance, but he is not very physically active and would die just months after the film's release. It is interesting to see how he is able to summon the screen presence to still be the star while sitting down through scene after scene.
While suffering from a low budget and possibly shooting schedule difficulties related to Toler's failing health, there is worth in this film if you look for it. Especially if you are a fan of the old black and white mystery movie style.
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