An ocean liner sinks off Honolulu and Allen Colby, heir to millions, is presumed dead...but local sleuth Charlie Chan is not so sure, and flies to San Francisco to investigate further. Somehow, the missing Colby is there ahead of him...but is knifed in the back before seeing anyone. Further events revolve around spiritualist Mrs. Lowell, her family of suspicious characters, and the spooky, untenanted Colby mansion, where the body turns up during a seance!Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A solid entry in the series with excellent supporting players
I've worked my way recently through about 10 of the films in the Chan series and this is one of the most compelling I've seen yet -- largely due to the good chemistry between Warner Oland and Henrietta Crosman, who is one of the more memorable of the leading ladies in the series. True, the Chan family is missing -- except when viewed briefly in a photograph at the film's very end -- and the San Francisco location isn't very convincing; it is hard to place the "ancient" house where much of the action takes place in a city where most everything was burnt to the ground in 1906. Nevertheless many of the typically alluring elements of the Chan films are present in full force -- society ladies in long dresses, a shady pair of mediums, séances that come to a screaming end, pitch black scenes in secret rooms, and odd applications of 1930s technology. Jonathan Hale is a welcome presence and the comic relief supplied by Herbert Mundin as the butler stops short of being annoying, which is more than one can say for some of the later entries in the series. All in all quite satisfying.
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