7.5/10
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Dead Men Tell (1941)

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.

Director:

Harry Lachman

Writers:

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

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Aboard a treasure ship Chan battles his most elusive adversary... the ghost of a pirate 100 years dead! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

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

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

When Charlie is down below inspecting the hold for clues, the parrot disturbs him. The next scene shown at a slight upward angle, shows the open hatch and a view of the daylight sky, you can see one of the ships masts. Through out the movie the action takes place at night. See more »

Quotes

Bill Lydig: [looking at treasure map] Is it the real McCoy?
Charlie Chan: Quite possible McCoy.
See more »

Connections

Follows City in Darkness (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Heaps of atmosphere and great cinematography
19 August 2017 | by shaksprynSee all my reviews

This is an interesting Chan in several ways. First, the DVD print looks great! Our setting is a classic type old sailing ship and the adjacent docks, tavern, etc. Tons of fog, so I guess we are in San Francisco, though I don't recall anyone specifying that.

This film is also notable, for the action all taking place in a few sets: sailing ship deck, cabins, docks, tavern, a few others. Think of an old mansion story--like Castle in the Desert--but here we are on a ship at dock. I imagine this saved a lot on the budget. The sets are A-1; just about anything nautical is crammed on that old ship!

I was a bit surprised by the acting styles in this film; a lot of the actors play it very broad, with long, big visual reaction takes, more like an early 1930's film. The pace of the film is very deliberate, almost slow at times, but I enjoyed it. There is good humor with Number Two Son. Toler underplays very effectively; he owns the part, at this point. This is a good one; recommended.


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