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
Eccentric scientist Harper lives in a spooky mansion with all the trimmings: hidden lab, secret panels, inscrutable butler, and greedy relatives with unusual talents. When Harper seems to ... See full summary »
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 (email@example.com)
Much is made over the fact that Dr. Melton, the murder victim,
was left-handed. Yet, earlier, he was seen doing various things, such as taking notes, opening a door, and turning on the fatal light switch, all with his right hand. See more »
Monogram and Toler join for enjoyable low-budget entry in the series...
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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