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
Princess Mei Ling pays a visit to the Chan residence, where upon being admitted by man-of-all-work Birmingham Brown she refuses to give her name, but hands Birmingham her ring to show to Charlie. While Chan is being summoned, a mysterious figure shoots a dart at the beautiful Princess who manages, before she dies of poison, to scrawl the name "Captain K" on a handy piece of paper. When the police arrive, Charlie has to admit that he does not know the identity of his murdered visitor, but that he means to find out. What he learns is that Mei Ling has brought with her to America the sum of one million dollars, in order to buy airplanes for the Chinese struggle for freedom. Someone has stolen the money, and someone may be trying to divert the planes into enemy hands. Can the famous detective, despite the fact that his Number Two Son has unaccountably changed his name from Jimmy to Tommy, who used to be his Number Three son, and despite the fact that Charlie, who used to be a Honolulu ... Written by
During all the time I was watching The Chinese Ring I kept thinking I saw it before and then I learn that this was indeed the plot of an old Mr. Wong film also put out by Monogram. As the Wong series was before World War II started in Europe only the politics were changed and they got a little vague in this one.
Barbara Jean Wong, a Chinese princess who is in America to purchase war airplanes for what I presume is the Kuomintang air force against the Communists is shot and killed by a dart fired from an air rifle almost immediately after entering Charlie Chan's home. With a murder right in his own home Roland Winters in his first film as Charlie Chan is kind of forced to help the authorities who in this case are represented by homicide detective Warren Douglas. Tagging along is Louise Currie who is a reporter looking to scoop her rivals on who killed the princess.
The Occidentals who the princess had to deal with are one scurvy lot who saw a cash cow and were milking it for all it was worth. But one of them is scurvier than the rest that one murders the princes, her maid and a small mute Chinese boy who's only crime was that he was a witness.
The story did not translate that good to a post World War II political situation. Still the players do their best with it and Roland Winters slips nicely into the tradition of Warner Oland and Sidney Toler as our fortune cookie aphorism speaking Charlie Chan.
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