25 user 12 critic

Dead Men Tell (1941)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 28 March 1941 (USA)
A treasure map in four pieces, the ghost of a hanged pirate, a talking parrot, and a ship full of red herrings complicate Charlie's search for a murderer on board a docked ship.


Harry Lachman


John Francis Larkin (original screenplay) (as John Larkin), Earl Derr Biggers (based on the character created by)




Complete credited cast:
Sidney Toler ... Charlie Chan
Sheila Ryan ... Kate Ransome
Robert Weldon Robert Weldon ... Steve Daniels
Victor Sen Yung ... Jimmy Chan (as Sen Yung)
Donald Douglas ... Jed Thomasson (as Don Douglas)
Kay Aldridge ... Laura Thursday (as Katharine Aldridge)
Paul McGrath ... Mr. Parks
George Reeves ... Bill Lydig
Truman Bradley ... Capt. Kane
Ethel Griffies ... Miss Patience Nodbury
Lenita Lane ... Dr. Anne Bonney
Milton Parsons ... Gene LaFarge


Eccentic, elderly matron Patience Nodbury has a treasure map she's inherited from Black Hook, her pirate ancestor. To foil a mysterious thief who has tried to steal it, she divides it into four pieces, three of which she gives to fellow passengers booked to sail on the Suva Star, an old wooden sailing ship chartered for a treasure hunt on an offshore island. She is convinced that, according to family tradition, Black Hook will visit her before she dies. When the peg-legged "ghost" does just that, and she suffers a fatal heart attack, Charlie and Jimmy are faced with a boatload of red herrings including Bill Lydig, an escaped convict, Gene LaFarge, a certifiable neurotic accompanied by a personal psychiatrist, and the embittered Captain Kane, who was marooned on a deserted island by his ex-partner and vows revenge. Written by (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


CHARLIE CHAN TRAPS A KILLER "GHOST"! (original poster-all caps) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This film was first telecast in Portland OR Saturday 28 November 1953 on KOIN (Channel 6), in Detroit Monday 30 November 1953 on WXYZ (Channel 7), in New York City Thursday 4 February 1954 on WCBS (Channel 2), in Dayton Tuesday 23 February 1954 on WLW-D (Channel 2), in Los Angeles Saturday 3 July 1954 on KNBH (Channel 4), and in San Francisco Tuesday 16 July 1955 on KRON (Channel 4). See more »


When Jimmy Chan is in a tavern, while he is crouched down against a wall, a dart is thrown at a target near him. When he rises, the guide wire can be seen for the dart against his dark sweater. See more »


Inspector Vessey: [Referring to Jimmy] Kid's got a head on his shoulders.
Charlie Chan: Very good news if true.
See more »


Followed by The Sky Dragon (1949) See more »

User Reviews

Jimmy the Fish
13 January 2016 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

There is murder on board a ship that is taking its customers to an island where there is a 60,000,000 dollar treasure (or so we're told). The map has been divided into fourths to be distributed once they reach the island. Jimmy Chan stows away (what else is new) and while there an old lady is murdered (she has one of the pieces) by someone dressed as a pirate. Meanwhile, Charlie Chan comes aboard, looking for his number two son. As it turns out there are all sorts of people who could be responsible, including the captain of the ship who hates people and would rather have nothing to do with them. Jimmy, who is in this episode too much, starts investigating. He ends up dropping the water on at least four occasions. He muddles up the case again. This is fun because of the locale. There are numerous misleading clues. By the way, George Reeves appears in this one. He is the one who starred in "The Adventures of Superman" back in the fifties. This is a decent mystery.

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Release Date:

28 March 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Charlie Chan in Dead Men Tell See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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