Another Bad Movie

Number 9 in the Series

Amazon Prime Video is the go-to place for old Charlie Chan movies. This is one from 1946, starring English actor Sidney Toler as Chines detective Charlie Chan. It’s The Trap out of Monogram Pictures, which produced a bunch of these films from 1931 to 1953.

The Charlie Chan character was introduced by Earl Derr Biggers in a series of novels starting in the 1920s. Various actors played the role, with Toler appearing in 22 episodes. This was his last movie ever. At the time of production he was dying of cancer and barely able to perform.

Details are from Wikipedia. Here is the cast:

Although originally cast as a detective of the Honolulu police, few of the films show him there. Most often he is seen in San Francisco, which has been notable for its Chinese immigrant population But this takes place entirely in Malibu, California. The opening scene is a motorcycle cop stationing himself beside the Pacific Coast Highway.

He spots a car going by, loaded with Hollywood actresses and much to fast. He cautions the driver to ease up on the pedal.

The car arrives at a beach bungalow, where the young women and some production officials debark and take up residence. The housekeeper, Miss Weebles, looks menacing.

There is bickering among the women as they compete for social position and favoritism. Lois is under age, and Adelaide knows it. She uses this knowledge as leverage. She has Lois go steal damaging letters from Brandt’s luggage.

Lois gets some letters, but somebody is watching, somebody with a garrote, preparing to strangle her. She turns. She sees the person. It’s her final scene in the movie.

They find Lois’ body in the room, but now Marcia is missing. She is found dead on the beach. Charlie Chan is summoned, and Birmingham drives him out to the bungalow.

Jimmy Chan finds the note left by Birmingham, and he comes to help solve the crime. Also, he is sweet on one of the actresses. The motorcycle cop is enlisted to work the case.

No more people are murdered. There is much skulking around, false accusations, hidden compartments, noises in the walls. The housekeeper says the noises are mice.

Charlie sets a trap, hence the title. Jimmy’s girlfriend is the bait. But when Jimmy and Birmingham find the sought-after box, they rush in and foil Charlie’s surprise. The murderer makes a getaway. We can see those are woman’s legs under the disguise.

Charlie and Jimmy give chase. The murder’s car crashes. It is the wardrobe woman as I always suspected. She dies.

There were mice in the wall. This is the final scene.

Mantan Moreland received top billing in this movie. He had a long career, beginning as a teenager and creating a great comic persona, playing the bumbling Birmingham in several of these films. When this portrayal went out of fashion his career dwindled.

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About John Blanton

I'm a retired engineer living in San Antonio, Texas. I have served in the Navy, raced motorcycles, taken scads of photos and am usually a nice guy. I have political and religious opinions, and these opinions tend to be driven by an excess of observed stupidity. Gross stupidity is the supposed target of many of my posts.
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1 Response to Another Bad Movie

  1. Pingback: Another Bad Movie | Specular Photo of San Antonio

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