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Murder over New York

USA 1940
produced by
Sol M. Wurtzel (executive) for 20th Century Fox
directed by Harry Lachman
starring Sidney Toler, Marjorie Weaver, Robert Lowery, Ricardo Cortez, Donald MacBride, Melville Cooper, Joan Valerie, Kane Richmond, Victor Sen Yung, John Sutton, Leyland Hodgson, Clarence Muse, Frederick Worlock, Lal Chand Mehra, Shemp Howard
screenplay by Lester Ziffren, based on characters created by Earl Derr Biggers, music by Cyril J. Mockridge

Charlie Chan, Charlie Chan (Sidney Toler), Charlie Chan at Fox

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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On his flight to New York, Charlie Chan (Sidney Toler) meets a friend (Frederick Worlock) working for the British Secret Service trailing a mysterious international spy and saboteur named Narvo. Now nobody knows what Narvo looks like, but Chan's friend thinks he has tracked down his estranged wife ... and then Chan's friend turns up dead, murdered during a dinner party full of suspicious characters. Chan decides to take the case and starts by picking up where his deceased friend has left off, and in no time at all he has traced down Narvo's wife Patricia (Marjorie Weaver) - who of course proves to be totally innocent. In the meantime though, more people, mostly guests at above dinnerparty, start dying, and with every death, Chan seems to move back to square one in his investigations - which doesn't bother him one bit.

For the finale, Chan invites all suspects to a testflight of a newly developed fighter jet which he is sure Narvo will sabotage using poisoned gas (his favourite mode of killing), then locks everybody inside the plane to see who loses his nerve to stop the gas attack the very last second ... and it's an arrogant British gentleman (Melville Cooper) whom nobody would have suspected because he's simply too old to be Narvo. And he isn't, either, just his accomplice. The real Narvo is a slimey businessman (John Sutton), who essentially gives himself away when he tries to poison his accomplice before he can spill the beans.

But how come Patricia failed to recognize him?

Following a car accident, he has had massive plastic surgery that also affected his vocal chords ...

Victor Sen Yung can once again be seen as Charlie Chan's Number Two Son, Shemp Howard of the Three Stooges plays a fake fakir.


A very routine Charlie Chan-murder mystery with a bit of espionage thrown in for a change, this film is - well, it's ok as long as you watch it and don't think too much, and it moves along at a steady enough pace to keep you from doing so. However, it's not among the best films of the series, the plot is just a bit too tried-and-true and the culprits are pulled out of the hat in the end instead of being found through deduction, and the trademark humour of the series is a bit low in this one as well. Still, an ok series movie at least, just don't expect something special ...


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD