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Black Magic (1944)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 19 August 1944 (USA)
Charlie searches for a murderer amidst numerous ghosts conjured up by a strange variety of spiritualists and occultists.

Director:

Phil Rosen

Writers:

Earl Derr Biggers (characters), George Callahan (original screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Sidney Toler ... Charlie Chan
Mantan Moreland ... Birmingham Brown
Frances Chan Frances Chan ... Frances Chan
Joseph Crehan ... Police Sgt. Matthews
Helen Beverley Helen Beverley ... Norma Duncan / Nancy Wood
Jacqueline deWit ... Justine Bonner
Geraldine Wall Geraldine Wall ... Harriet Green
Ralph Peters ... Officer Rafferty
Frank Jaquet ... Paul Hamlin
Edward Earle ... Dawson, Police Lab
Claudia Dell ... Vera Starkey
Harry Depp Harry Depp ... Charles Edwards
Charles Jordan Charles Jordan ... Tom Starkey
Dick Gordon ... William Bonner (as Richard Gordon)
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Storyline

Because Charlie Chan plans to return to Honolulu, he no longer needs the services of Birmingham, who gets a job as butler for William and Justine Bonner, two apparently phony psychics who regularly host occult activities in their home. When Charlie's pretty daughter Frances attends a séance out of curiosity, Mr. Bonner is shot, and she becomes an immediate suspect. Charlie postpones his trip home to help with the investigation, which is made problematic when no bullet can be found in the wound and a hypnotized Mrs. Bonner is compelled to commit suicide by jumping off the roof of a downtown building. Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Chan stalks a fiendish murderer! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 August 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Meeting at Midnight See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$75,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Monogram Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The title card on the DVD, which comes from the original negative, bears the original title, "Black Magic", but revisionists have superimposed "original title: 'Meeting at Midnight'" across the bottom of the screen. They've got it backwards. "Meeting at Midnight" was the new title attached to the film, about five years after its original release, in order to avoid confusion with Orson Welles' Black Magic (1949). See more »

Goofs

When Charlie first declares himself psychic to Sgt. Matthews, we can see the pole held by a stagehand that makes a white handkerchief flutter over Charlie's head. See more »

Quotes

Police Sgt. Matthews: Charlie, about that bullet?
Charlie Chan: You can keep secret?
Police Sgt. Matthews: Of course!
Charlie Chan: So can I.
See more »

Connections

Follows Charlie Chan in Paris (1935) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Number One Daughter
16 August 2010 | by jonfrum2000See all my reviews

This installment of the Chan series is more light-hearted than many, with daughter Frances replacing her brothers in the family sidekick roll, and Birmingham Brown getting a lot of screen time. The séance is another of the classic murder mystery settings used in the series - for the second time, in fact. The complaints by other reviewers about Frances Chan's acting boggle the mind - she's an appealing character, and this ain't Shakespeare, folks. It's nice to have the woman's - or girl's - touch in the series, and Sidney Toler is more affectionate towards her than to sons one and two. Hypnosis and plastic surgery are overworked gimmicks in mysteries, but hey, this is B-movie-land. Mantan Moreland is given plenty of time to clown, and he does his usual great job of it. Yes, he plays the fool, but no more so than my beloved Three Stooges, and folks, they were as white as you can get. If you can't see the difference between Stepin Fetchit and Mantan Moreland, that's a you problem.

Considering it was made in a few weeks with a minimal budget, this Chan was a fun hour of entertainment. Charlie is Charlie - one step ahead of the police he helps - Frances is a breath of fresh air, and Birmingham entertains with his comic acting. Black Magic is exactly what it set out to be - not Citizen Kane, and not trying to be.


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