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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Black Camel (1931)

A film star (Dorothy Revier) is in Hawaii shooting a movie. When she is murdered, the detective Charlie Chan (Warner Oland) discovers that her murder is somehow connected to another murder that happened three years ago in Hollywood. Based on the novel by Earl Derr Biggers, the creator of the Charlie Chan mysteries. It's a very static and crude piece of film making. Almost like a filmed play although the film was actually shot on location in Honolulu, rare for a sound film at that time. The acting is also very stiff except for Oland and Robert Young (in his film debut). But if you're a murder mystery junkie like me, it works anyway. There's not much you can say about a film like this, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS it's not. It's a pity that three strip Technicolor hadn't been introduced yet because the Hawaiian locations would certainly have given the film a needed lushness. The plot was reused again in CHARLIE CHAN IN RIO (1941). Directed by Hamilton MacFadden. With Bela Lugosi and Dwight Frye (who had memorably co-starred in DRACULA earlier in the year), Sally Eilers, Victor Varconi, Violet Dunn, William Post Jr. and Mary Gordon.

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