The Black Camel (1931)

67 or 71 mins | Drama | 1931

Director:

Hamilton MacFadden

Cinematographers:

Daniel B. Clark, Joseph August

Production Designer:

Ben Carré

Production Company:

Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

The novel was originally published serially in The Saturday Evening Post , 18 May-22 Jun 1929. Sources conflict concerning the release date. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, some scenes were shot in Honolulu, where some of the film's music was also recorded. For more information regarding the series, please consult the Series Index and see entry for Charlie Chan Carries On ... More Less

The novel was originally published serially in The Saturday Evening Post , 18 May-22 Jun 1929. Sources conflict concerning the release date. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, some scenes were shot in Honolulu, where some of the film's music was also recorded. For more information regarding the series, please consult the Series Index and see entry for Charlie Chan Carries On . More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
5 Jul 31
p. 10.
HF
11 Apr 31
p. 24.
HF
2 May 31
p. 24.
Motion Picture Herald
16 May 31
p. 34.
New York Times
4 Jul 31
p. 11.
Variety
7 Jul 31
p. 34.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Hamilton MacFadden Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Scr and dial
Scr and dial
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Cost
PRODUCTION MISC
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Black Camel by Earl Derr Biggers (Indianapolis, 1929).
SONGS
"Uheuhene" and "Na Lei O Hawaii," words and music by Charles E. King
"I Have a Thought in My Heart for You," words and music by Sol Hoopii, Jr.
"Aloha Oe," words and music by Queen Liliuokalani.
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
1931
Premiere Information:
release: 7 June or 21 June 1931
Production Date:
mid April--early May 1931
Copyright Claimant:
Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
27 May 1931
Copyright Number:
LP2301
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
67 or 71
Length(in feet):
6,560
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Shelah Fane, a motion picture star filming in Honolulu, consults the mystic Tarneverro, her spiritual adviser, to decide if she should marry Alan Jaynes, a wealthy globetrotter she met on the boat to Hawaii. During a crystal ball session, Shelah confesses that three years earlier she fell in love with her co-star, Denny Mayo, and that she was in his house the night he was murdered. Agitated after the consultation, Shelah tells Julie O'Neill, her protegée, that she cannot marry Alan. Anna, Shelah's maid, is greatly upset when, as she brings Shelah some orchids from stage actor Robert Fyfe, who is appearing in town, she sees Shelah tearing a photograph of Denny Mayo. That evening, just before a dinner party Shelah is giving, Julie and Jimmy Bradshaw, a tourist bureau employee who wants to marry Julie, find Shelah stabbed to death in her pavillion. Julie removes Shelah's emerald ring. During his investigation, Inspector Charlie Chan of the Honolulu police finds the orchids crushed next to Shelah's body with their pin missing. He also notices in the sand outside the pavillion a footprint made by a shoe with a hole in it. Chan gathers the guests, who were all in Hollywood at the time of Mayo's murder, and relates an old saying: "Death is a black camel that kneels unbidden at every gate." After Chan's blundering assistant Kashimo finds the ripped photograph of Mayo, both Tarneverro and Julie secrete pieces of it. When Kashimo brings in a beach bum, who calls himself Smith and whose shoes match the footprints found outside the pavillion, Fyfe, Shelah's ex-husband, confesses that he killed her. Alan, greatly upset, wants to ... +


Shelah Fane, a motion picture star filming in Honolulu, consults the mystic Tarneverro, her spiritual adviser, to decide if she should marry Alan Jaynes, a wealthy globetrotter she met on the boat to Hawaii. During a crystal ball session, Shelah confesses that three years earlier she fell in love with her co-star, Denny Mayo, and that she was in his house the night he was murdered. Agitated after the consultation, Shelah tells Julie O'Neill, her protegée, that she cannot marry Alan. Anna, Shelah's maid, is greatly upset when, as she brings Shelah some orchids from stage actor Robert Fyfe, who is appearing in town, she sees Shelah tearing a photograph of Denny Mayo. That evening, just before a dinner party Shelah is giving, Julie and Jimmy Bradshaw, a tourist bureau employee who wants to marry Julie, find Shelah stabbed to death in her pavillion. Julie removes Shelah's emerald ring. During his investigation, Inspector Charlie Chan of the Honolulu police finds the orchids crushed next to Shelah's body with their pin missing. He also notices in the sand outside the pavillion a footprint made by a shoe with a hole in it. Chan gathers the guests, who were all in Hollywood at the time of Mayo's murder, and relates an old saying: "Death is a black camel that kneels unbidden at every gate." After Chan's blundering assistant Kashimo finds the ripped photograph of Mayo, both Tarneverro and Julie secrete pieces of it. When Kashimo brings in a beach bum, who calls himself Smith and whose shoes match the footprints found outside the pavillion, Fyfe, Shelah's ex-husband, confesses that he killed her. Alan, greatly upset, wants to leave immediately to catch a boat to the mainland, but Chan deduces that Fyfe could not have been at the pavillion when the murder took place, and warns the guests not to leave the island. Needing money, Smith, an artist, threatens Fyfe that he will tell what he overheard Shelah say in the pavillion unless Fyfe buys one of his paintings. After Fyfe gives him $100 and promises to pay $200 more, an unseen assailant shoots Smith on the beach. At Jimmy's urging, Julie confesses to Chan that she took the emerald ring because it contains an inscription from Mayo; Shelah, she says, wanted to keep their relationship a secret. Chan learns from an Australian couple that Tarneverro is really Denny Mayo's brother Arthur. Before Smith dies from his gunshot wound, he reveals to Chan that he heard Shelah tell Fyfe that she confessed killing Mayo to Tarneverro. Fyfe confirms this and says that after Shelah had found out that Mayo had a wife in England, she shot him during a quarrel. Fyfe says he confessed to her murder because he loved her and wanted to protect her memory. Smith also reveals that he took a diamond pin from the pavillion, which Chan notices, has a part missing. As Chan finds a scratch mark on the floor under the dinner table in Shelah's house that he believes was made by the shoe in which the missing piece of the pin is probably still lodged, a knife is thrown at him. Chan deduces that Shelah's murderer must have sat in the chair nearest the scratch. Meanwhile, Julie accepts Jimmy's proposal and agrees to remain with him in Hawaii. Chan has the suspects sit where they sat the previous night. Tarneverro sits in the chair next to the scratch, but Chan, investigating further, learns that later the previous night, the maid Anna sat in the same chair. When Chan finds the piece of the diamond pin in the heel of her shoe, she reveals that she is really Mrs. Denny Mayo and admits killing Shelah. Tarneverro confesses that he came to Hollywood to find his brother's murderer, and says that when Shelah confessed to him, he told Anna. He asks to share Anna's fate. As Chan goes to arrest Anna, Jessop, the butler, who loves her, pulls a gun, but after a struggle, Chan disarms him. Jessop admits he shot Smith because he knew too much and that he threw the knife at Chan. Just then, Kashimo enters with a clue, but Chan instructs him to save it for the next case. +

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

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