21 user 11 critic

Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise (1940)

Passed | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 21 June 1940 (USA)
Charlie tries to discover the identity of a strangler who strikes multiple times on a cruise ship bound from Honolulu to California.


Eugene Forde


Robertson White (screen play), Lester Ziffren (screen play) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sidney Toler ... Charlie Chan
Marjorie Weaver ... Paula Drake
Lionel Atwill ... Dr. Suderman
Victor Sen Yung ... Jimmy Chan (as Sen Yung)
Don Beddoe ... James Ross
Leo G. Carroll ... Professor Gordon (as Leo Carroll)
Robert Lowery ... Dick Kenyon
Harlan Briggs ... Coroner
Cora Witherspoon ... Susie Watson
Kay Linaker ... Mrs. Pendleton
Charles Middleton ... Mr. Walters
Claire Du Brey ... Mrs. Walters
Leonard Mudie ... Gerald Pendleton
James Burke ... Wilkie
Richard Keene ... Buttons


On a cruise ship from Honolulu to San Francisco, the famous Chinese detective encounters four more murders while trying to figure out the murder of a Scotland Yard friend. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


DEATH AFLOAT...striking swiftly. suddenly...leaving on each strangled victim a calling card of crimson coin...thirty pieces of silver! (original print ad) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

21 June 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Charlie Chan auf Kreuzfahrt See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The twenty-fourth of forty-seven Charlie Chan movies. See more »


Don Beddoe's character is referred to in the film as Frederick Ross, but the credits list him as James Ross See more »


Charlie Chan: When Chinese Emperor have eight suspects of murder, he solve problem very quickly.
Prof. Gordon: Really? How?
Charlie Chan: Chop off eight heads. Always sure getting one criminal.
See more »


Follows Charlie Chan in Honolulu (1938) See more »

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User Reviews

A whole cruise ship full of murder suspects!
12 March 2014 | by binapiraeusSee all my reviews

Now this is a movie RIGHT after every real murder mystery fan's heart - no wonder, because it's based on one of Earl Derr Biggers' original novels, "Charlie Chan Carries On" (which had already been adapted in 1931 as the - now lost - first film starring Warner Oland in the role, bearing the book's title), and can clearly be identified as a crime novel brought to the screen. A plot with so many twists and knots that it's almost impossible to follow, a whole bunch of suspects to 'choose' from, dark connections with the past...

And it was adapted in a really MASTERFUL way, with a perfect direction (the atmosphere on board the ship is wonderfully genuine, and the foggy night scenes on deck are pretty creepy), an illustrious cast including mystery specialist Lionel Atwill, Leo Carroll, Robert Lowery (who later would become famous in westerns), Marjorie Weaver (the heroine of many a good B movie), and Cora Witherspoon, and many gags included to lighten up the murderous atmosphere - as usual, mostly provoked by, or involving poor Jimmy Chan.

It all starts in Charlie Chan's office in Honolulu, where he is visited by his old friend Inspector Duff from Scotland Yard, who tells him about a strange case he's on incognito: a cruise ship started four months ago on a world tour from New York, and on the first night one of the passengers, a judge, was strangled. In Liverpool, Duff joined the cruise, and he's convinced that among the passengers must be a dangerous criminal, and it's very probable that he'll strike again. And so he does: Charlie's superior next door is informed over the telephone that a Mr. Kenyon, another one of the passengers, was murdered in his hotel room - and when Charlie gets back to his own office, he finds his friend strangled; and that makes him feel obliged to take on the case himself...

He goes on board, and is introduced to the passengers by group leader Dr. Suderman: there's archaeologist Professor Gordon, Dick Kenyon, the nephew of the murdered man, Paula Drake with whom he's in love and who's the secretary of slightly hysterical Susie Watson, Susie's admirer Freddie Ross, the strange spiritualist couple Mr. and Mrs. Walters - and Mr. Pendleton, who seems to be afraid to death that HE's the intended victim! Then there's a mysterious beggar with a huge beard creeping around, there are stories from the past involving Mrs. Pendleton, there are little bags containing exactly 30 silver dimes (...) - and of course, there's a stowaway: who else but... Jimmy Chan?

And then unfolds a plot before our eyes which is not only almost too complicated to describe, but it would also be a shame to give away too much of it - because it really has to be SEEN to be believed! An absolute 'must' for every mystery fan, equal (if not superior) even to many of the very best 'whodunits' that were ever brought to the screen!

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