Charlie Chan In The Secret Service (1944)

charlie chan in the secret service 1944

Dull entry that concentrates more on detection than comedy. That would have been a good thing but the investigation drags way too much. Unlike most mysteries this one has the suspects all gathered from the beginning instead of waiting for the end. The comedy is provided by Mantan Moreland, Benson Fong and Marianne Quon. This is the first one to feature Moreland as Birmingham Brown.

George Melton has invented a new torpedo that could destroy U-Boats. He’s always accompanied by two Secret Service guards and carries the only copy of his formula in his wallet. On the wall of his lab he has a lot of dummy bombs. One that’s marked with a black cross is loaded and will destroy anything within two hundred yards. He’s having a group over for cocktails and demands his guards stay in the lab. Bad move as he’s killed and the formula stolen.

Charlie is expecting number three son Tommy (Benson Fong) and number two daughter Iris (Marianne Quon) in from Honolulu for a sight seeing tour of Washington, D.C. That will have to be put on hold as the secret service asks him to investigate the Melton murder. He asks his kids to stay in the hotel. Of course they won’t as they recall howJimmy Chan used to get involved in their Pop’s cases…whether he wanted him to or not.

At the Melton house Charlie questions the guests and household staff. The staff includes Birmingham Brown (Mantan Moreland). A set of forged plans are discovered in a book inside a bookcase. Through all of this an eye is seen checking out the proceedings from behind a curtain. Later a safe is discovered behind a picture but no one has a key to open it.

Birmingham decides to make himself a drink while Charlie is outside with the guards. He looks in the mirror and sees a hand holding a gun,. He screams and the first attempt to kill Charlie fails. All this time it looked like Melton died of natural causes. The coroner’s report has a different story.

The questioning drags on and is interspersed with the interference of Tommy and Iris.d Birmingham just wants to go home. Before Charlie wraps it up there’s another murder.

Too bad the pace was so slow and the solution more contrived than clever. With all the Chan movies out there giving this one a miss is no great loss.

About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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