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Charlie Chan in the Secret Service (1944)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 14 February 1944 (USA)
Charlie Chan is an agent of the U.S. government assigned to investigate the mysterious death of an inventor.

Director:

Phil Rosen

Writers:

George Callahan (original screenplay), Earl Derr Biggers (characters)
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On the trail of a singer who killed the man she loved in Honolulu, Charlie finds her stabbed to death when he ultimately catches up to her in Rio.

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A public defender enlists Charlie to exonerate one of his clients, an ex-con falsely accused of bank robbery and murder, scheduled for execution in nine days.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Sidney Toler ... Charlie Chan
Mantan Moreland ... Birmingham Brown
Arthur Loft ... Inspector Jones
Gwen Kenyon ... Inez Arranto
Sarah Edwards Sarah Edwards ... Mrs. Hargue
George J. Lewis ... Paul Arranto (as George Lewis)
Marianne Quon ... Iris Chan
Benson Fong ... Tommy Chan
Muni Seroff Muni Seroff ... Peter Laska
Barry Bernard Barry Bernard ... David Blake
Gene Roth ... Luis Philipe Vega (as Gene Stutenroth)
Eddy Chandler Eddy Chandler ... Lewis (as Eddie Chandler)
Lelah Tyler ... Mrs. Winters
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Storyline

A scientist working on an important new invention which will protect Allied shipping from U-boat torpedoes has been assigned Secret Service security protection. Amazingly, despite the fact that his laboratory and experiments are located on the upper floor of his Washington mansion, he decides to host a cocktail party for friends on the first floor. Even though several of his guests are foreign nationals with shadowy pasts, he refuses to allow his bodyguards to attend because their presence might offend them. When he is killed by unknown means before joining them, the resultant summary investigation includes Honolulu detective Charlie Chan and children Tommy and Iris, later joined by Birmingham Brown, the chauffeur of one of the guests. When a preliminary autopsy reveals the scientist was electrocuted, Charlie and his associates must decide which of the suspects and red herrings is the guilty party. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The screen's most daring sleuth!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 February 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Charlie Chan and the Secret Service See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Production Co:

Monogram Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The earliest documented telecasts of this film occurred in the New York City area Sunday 2 May 1948 on WCBS (Channel 2), in Los Angeles Tuesday 16 November 1948 on KTLA (Channel 5), in Syracuse Wednesday 1 June 1949 on WHEN (Channel 8), in Detroit Sunday 17 July 1949 on WXYZ (Channel 7), in Cincinnati Friday 5 August 1949 on WKRC (Channel 11), and in Salt Lake City Tuesday 13 December 1949 on KSL (Channel 5). See more »

Goofs

While Charlie is riding in a cab to the murdered doctor's house in "Washington, D.C.", he goes through a neighborhood full of houses with red tile roofs and palm trees in the yard. See more »

Quotes

Tommy Chan: Gee, I'm sleepy.
Birmingham Brown: Me, too.
Iris Chan: Then lie down somewhere. I'll wake you when the next corpse shows up.
See more »

Connections

Followed by The Shanghai Cobra (1945) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Monogram and Toler join for enjoyable low-budget entry in the series...
25 June 2007 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

I'll say one thing for these Charlie Chan films. There's never a shortage of murder suspects and the clues are always readily apparent to the master sleuth but not to the audience. At least, that's the usual pattern, even when Sidney Toler joined forces with Monogram for several B-picture entries in the series.

CHARLIE CHAN IN THE SECRET SERVICE follows the pattern precisely, even giving us a final gathering of suspects from which to venture our own guess as to the identity of the murderer. As usual, it's at your own risk for it seldom turns out to be the most obvious.

Once again, Toler plays it close to the vest without giving the audience much of a hint as to which suspect he's onto. The story gets off to a fast start with the murder of an inventor of a torpedo plan murdered in his own home being guarded by secret service bodyguards.

Chan gets the call to solve the case and discovers that the inventor's plans are missing. "No one leaves until case ends satisfactorily," he tells the police. Chan is soon joined by two of his eldest children, who are no help at all in solving the crime. Nor is MANTAN MORELAND as Birmingham Brown, wild-eyed with fear as still another murder occurs.

The explanations are strictly a wild concoction by the screenwriter who has left no stone unturned to make sure that the old cliché about "the least obvious suspect" is once again a truism.

Summing up: Good for a few chuckles, but it doesn't play fair with the clues.


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