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
Vic Armstrong arrives at his Uncle Judge Armstrong's home just in time to answer the telephone. Unknown to him, his uncle has just been murdered and the culprit is right there in the room with him! Phyllis Powers, on the other end of the line, recognizes Vic's voice, but just then Vic is knocked unconscious by the murderer. When he awakens, he (for reasons known only to movie mystery writers) pulls the knife out of his uncle's back, thus putting his fingerprints all over it, and just in time for the police, having been called by a worried Phyllis, to discover him standing over the body. Well, we know he didn't do it, but the police don't agree. Can Charlie Chan recognize the boy's innocence, and find the real murderer before Vic is sent into durance vile, or even worse?Written by
Not very good but strangely enjoyable Chan mystery
A mysterious figure sneaks into a judge's study and stabs him. Another stealthy figure enters the room--he answers the phone when it rings and is promptly conked on the head by the shadowy murderer, who then flees.
It's the judge's nephew who wakes up on the floor and pulls the knife out of the body right at the moment the cops walk in. It looks bad for him--until a recently executed criminal's fingerprints are found on the knife. The plot thickens when a district attorney is murdered next and the same dead man's fingerprints are found....
Soon enough, Charlie Chan is on the case, with assistance once again from number two son Tommy and chauffeur Birmingham Brown. Chan thinks the case has something to do with an insurance racket; Tommy doesn't actually help much but Birmingham is called on to climb through several windows.
Roland Winters is getting comfortable as Charlie Chan but there's really not much to the role...he reads the lines just fine but the script doesn't give him a whole lot of personality. Victor Sen Yung and Mantan Moreland are familiar and amusing as Tommy and Birmingham but they don't have much new to offer either.
Tim Ryan adds a little color as a police lieutenant who joins forces with Chan. And an actress named Deannie Best is actually kind of good as the murdered judge's slinky secretary.
Overall the picture is oddly watchable...nothing much happens but at least the story keeps on moving. A typical scene is the one where our main characters go to a cemetery to dig up the executed criminal's body: Of course they go at night, of course the grave is empty, of course Birmingham and Tommy are scared...but it's all done and past before we even have a chance to be bothered by how silly it all is.
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