Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Charlie Chan's Secret (1936)

Estranged son Allen Colby (Jerry Miley) is returning to his family after several years and being presumed dead. Not good news to some of his family members who have been spending his inheritance... including on psychic research. Charlie Chan (Warner Oland) discovers Colby survived a shipwreck but at a seance Colby turns up dead, recently stabbed.

So who killed Allen Colby, well there are plenty of suspects of course including his aunt Henrietta (Henrietta Crosman) who wants to continue the psychic research, Fred (Edward Trevor) and Janice (Astrid Allwyn) who have been living off the inheritance and the strange caretaker Ulrich (Egon Brecher) who had a grudge against Allen. Or is it the psychic research Professor (Arthur Edmund Carewe) who is anxious to continue the funding? Charlie begins his investigation in a creepy old house full of hidden passages, moving panels and various oddities.

A highly entertaining Golden Age type movie, Charlie Chan is without any of his sons in this film so the humour and buffoonery is lower than usual but the mystery is good. Plenty of pseudo-Chinese "proverbs" too.