The Scarlet Clue (1945)

Genres - Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Detective Film  |   Release Date - May 11, 1945 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 65 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Hans J. Wollstein

More tightly scripted than most of the Monogram Charlie Chan whodunits, The Scarlet Clue is set in a radio station that, rather fortuitously, is located in the same building as a government research lab. It's wartime, and the Chinese master detective (Sidney Toler) is searching for the killer of an enemy agent. The trail leads to the aforementioned radio station, where the owner of a soap opera, Mrs. Marsh (Virginia Brissac), is terrorizing her hard-working actors. The sneaky-looking station manager, Ralph Brett (I. Stanford Jolley), is reporting back to an unknown boss; a blackmailing actress (Janet Shaw) is poisoned; and the halls are haunted by a former Shakespearean star turned horror actor, Horace Carlos (Leonard Mudie, whose character is obviously patterned after Boris Karloff), and a Swedish char woman (Victoria Faust), who, so help her, says "yumpin' yimini!" As always, Chan's detective work is interrupted on occasion by the antics of manservant Birmingham Brown (Mantan Moreland) and dense Number Three Son, Tommy Chan (Benson Fong). One of the villains literally "gets the shaft" and Monogram fearlessly flirts with a potential new media rival: television. The pièce de résistance is a couple of very funny vaudeville turns by African-American comedians Mantan Moreland and Ben Carter. All in all, The Scarlet Clue makes for an entertaining enough hour or so.



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