|Charlie confronts the suspects|
Charlie Chan (Sidney Toler) is pursuing a certain criminal with Captain Flynn (Robert Homans) when the man is found dead, the only clue being a shoe print found at the scene of the crime. Charlie's investigation takes him to a building where there is a radio station on one floor and a radar research facility on another. Among the many suspects in the first and subsequent murders are Brett (I. Stanford Jolley), the radio manager; actresses Gloria Bayne (Janet Shaw) and Diane Hall (Helen Deverell); old-time Shakespearean and horror actor Horace Karlos (Leonard Mudie); impersonator Willie Rand (Jack Norton); Mrs. Marsh (Virginia Brissac), a termagant whose products are advertised on the radio soap operas she's forever criticizing; and others. The movie comes off like a homage to cliffhanger serials in that the generally unseen saboteur behind the scenes communicates with underlings via teletype, wears gloves and a mask, and at one point sends a fellow hurtling to his death by opening a trapdoor in the floor of a very high elevator car! The Scarlet Clue has an excellent script by George Callahan, enough sinister suspects to keep you guessing, a fast pace, a generous amount of suspense and humor, and even Mantan Moreland as the lovable Birmingham Brown. [Benson Fong is also on hand as # 3 son, Tommy.] Toler is terrific as Chan, and Brissac is certainly vivid as the nasty hag Mrs. Marsh [she played the warden in Lady Gangster]. A thoroughly satisfying Chan adventure, even if it is from Monogram.
Verdict: Snappy and clever. ***.