Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

MURDER OVER NEW YORK

Ricardo Cortez, Victor Sen Yung and Sidney Toler
MURDER OVER NEW YORK (1940). Director: Harry Lachman.

When Hugh Drake (Frederick Worlock), formerly of Scotland Yard and now with Military Intelligence, is found dead of gas poisoning, Charlie Chan (Sidney Toler) goes into [relative] action, while son Jimmy (Victor Sen Yung) kibbitzes. A strange man named Paul Narvo is involved in the murder plot, but even his wife, Pat (Marjorie Weaver of The Great Alaskan Mystery) -- from whom she ran away -- doesn't know who or where he is. Suspects and other characters include the butler Boggs (Leyland Hodgson); Inspector Vance (Donald MacBride); Drake's friend, Kirby (Ricardo Cortez); stockbroker Richard Jeffery (John Sutton); David Elliot (Robert Lowery), special friend of Pat's; the obnoxious Britisher Herbert Fenton (Melville Cooper); and Ralph Percy (Kane Richmond); who is involved with experimental aircraft that may be subject to sabotage. Junior Coghlan [The Adventures of Captain Marvel] has a nice bit as a club employee who helps Chan, and Shemp Howard [Brideless Groom] has an amusing turn as Shorty, who pretends to be the "Great Rashid." The exciting climax has many of the characters in a death-trap on a plane miles high in the air. With Richmond, Lowery, and Cortez in the cast -- as they were in many other Charlie Chan films -- this practically comprises the Charlie Chan Stock Company.

Verdict: Death-traps are always fun! ***.

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