Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise (1940)

70 or 75 mins | Drama | 21 June 1940

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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Charlie Chan's Cruise , Charlie Chan's Oriental Cruise , Chan's Cruise and Chan's Murder Cruise . According to materials contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Robert Ellis and Helen Logan wrote the first treatment for this film, which was followed by a treatment and screenplay written by John Larkin. Their contribution to the final film has not been determined, however. In 1931, Fox filmed another version of Earl Derr Biggers' novel titled Charlie Chan Carries On (see above). For additional information on the series, consult the Series Index and See Entry for Charlie Chan Carries On ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Charlie Chan's Cruise , Charlie Chan's Oriental Cruise , Chan's Cruise and Chan's Murder Cruise . According to materials contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Robert Ellis and Helen Logan wrote the first treatment for this film, which was followed by a treatment and screenplay written by John Larkin. Their contribution to the final film has not been determined, however. In 1931, Fox filmed another version of Earl Derr Biggers' novel titled Charlie Chan Carries On (see above). For additional information on the series, consult the Series Index and See Entry for Charlie Chan Carries On . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
4 May 40
p. 3.
Film Daily
7 May 40
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Feb 40
pp. 8-9.
Hollywood Reporter
4 May 40
p. 4.
Motion Picture Daily
7 May 40
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald
9 Mar 40
p. 63.
Motion Picture Herald
11 May 40
p. 53.
New York Times
3 May 40
p. 17.
Variety
8 May 40
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Charlie Chan Carries On by Earl Derr Biggers (Indianapolis, 1930).
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Titles:
Chan's Cruise
Chan's Murder Cruise
Charlie Chan's Cruise
Charlie Chan's Oriental Cruise
Release Date:
21 June 1940
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 2 May 1940
Production Date:
began late January 1940
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
21 June 1940
Copyright Number:
LP9750
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
70 or 75
Length(in feet):
6,315
Country:
United States
PCA No:
6084
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Inspector Duff of Scotland Yard visits Charlie Chan in Honolulu to enlist his aid in trapping a strangler who is lurking among ten members of a world cruise being conducted by Dr. Suderman. Before the inspector can divulge his plan, however, he falls victim to the strangler, and Chan begins his own investigation into the murders. His first stop is a visit to the members of Suderman's party, but when he arrives at the hotel, he finds that another murder has just been committed. The victim, Kenyon, is discovered with a bag containing thirty pieces of silver, and Chan deduces that the man was killed in the room of fellow passenger Gerald Pendleton and his body dragged into Kenyon's room. Chan meets the remaining members of the party when Susie Watson screams upon sighting a man on her balcony, and the group assembles in her room to discover that there is a killer in their midst. In addition to Suderman, the party consists of Kenyon's nephew Dick, Susie's secretary Paula Drake, playboy James Ross, Professor Gordon, an archaeologist, the jumpy Gerald Pendleton and the puritanical Mr. and Mrs. Jeremiah Walters. In a panic, they resume their voyage to San Francisco, and amid a sea of false clues, they share a rather uneventful cruise until Pendleton is murdered on the night that the ship is to dock. Chan finds the traces of a warning that Pendleton had wired to his wife, and deducing that the murderer was absent from the farewell party held at the time of Pendleton's demise, Chan begins to develop negatives from the pictures taken during the ... +


Inspector Duff of Scotland Yard visits Charlie Chan in Honolulu to enlist his aid in trapping a strangler who is lurking among ten members of a world cruise being conducted by Dr. Suderman. Before the inspector can divulge his plan, however, he falls victim to the strangler, and Chan begins his own investigation into the murders. His first stop is a visit to the members of Suderman's party, but when he arrives at the hotel, he finds that another murder has just been committed. The victim, Kenyon, is discovered with a bag containing thirty pieces of silver, and Chan deduces that the man was killed in the room of fellow passenger Gerald Pendleton and his body dragged into Kenyon's room. Chan meets the remaining members of the party when Susie Watson screams upon sighting a man on her balcony, and the group assembles in her room to discover that there is a killer in their midst. In addition to Suderman, the party consists of Kenyon's nephew Dick, Susie's secretary Paula Drake, playboy James Ross, Professor Gordon, an archaeologist, the jumpy Gerald Pendleton and the puritanical Mr. and Mrs. Jeremiah Walters. In a panic, they resume their voyage to San Francisco, and amid a sea of false clues, they share a rather uneventful cruise until Pendleton is murdered on the night that the ship is to dock. Chan finds the traces of a warning that Pendleton had wired to his wife, and deducing that the murderer was absent from the farewell party held at the time of Pendleton's demise, Chan begins to develop negatives from the pictures taken during the party, but the killer steals the evidence. As he flees, the murderer is shot and unmasked as Ross. However, Chan remains skeptical, and at the coroner's inquest, he produces Mrs. Pendleton, who explains that the killer is her demented, vengeful ex-husband and that Ross was only his accomplice. Chan then tricks Gordon into trying to kill his ex-wife, thus exposing him as the true murderer. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.