The Black Camel (1931)

Genres - Crime, Mystery, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Thriller, Detective Film  |   Release Date - Jun 21, 1931 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 67 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Actress Shelah Fane (Dorothy Revier) is in Honolulu to shoot a movie, but her chaotic personal life is keeping her from concentrating on work. She's supposed to marry millionaire playboy Alan Jaynes (William Post Jr.), but she's also got an ex lurking around and a possible skeleton in her closet in the form of her one-time lover, actor Danny Mayo, who was murdered in Hollywood three years earlier in a case that's still officially unsolved. Fane seems to have resolved some of her problems and is prepared to move forward with her life -- with help from phony mystic Tarnevarro (Bela Lugosi) -- when she turns up murdered. Inspector Chan (Warner Oland) is up to his neck in possible suspects, including Tarnevarro, who was getting inside information on Fane and working some kind of scam; Fane's assistant, Julie O'Neil (Sally Eilers), who felt compelled to tamper with evidence; her would-be fiance, Jimmy Bradshaw (Robert Young), who tried to keep Julie from finding the body; Fane's oily ex (Victor Varconi); Smith (Murray Kinnell), a painter and beachcomber who was lurking around the murder scene; and two servants, Jessup (Dwight Frye) and Anna (Violet Dunn), one of whom seems very nervous. Several of these people had motive and opportunity, and the plot thickens considerably when some seemingly innocuous witnesses admit to hiding evidence, others start turning up dead, and yet others seem to be destroying evidence. Chan, juggling this list of suspects (and the thinly veiled racism of some of them) and the presence of his well-meaning but inept assistant Kashimo (Otto Yamaoka), as well as his family life, maintains his cool, cerebral demeanor throughout, despite attempts on his own life and the slang-laden yammering of his children, which the detective scarcely understands.

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Keywords

actor, butler, child, death, detective, director, ex-husband, fortuneteller, husband, investigation, investigator, jealousy, killing, maid, murder, patient [medical], private-detective, stars [celebrities], suspect, wife