Associate producer: John Stone. Executive producer: Sol M. Wurtzel. Copyright 22 October 1937 by 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation. New York opening at the Central: 18 September 1937 (ran one week). U.S. release: 22 October 1937. 6,125 feet. 68 minutes.
SYNOPSIS: A gangster's moll is murdered at the Hottentot Club. Charlie suspects foul play.
NOTES: Number fifteen of the sixteen pictures made by Warner Oland in the series, and the third of five (four with Oland and one with Toler) directed by Eugene Forde.
COMMENT: A lively entry with a great cast that will particularly delight Harold Huber's vast legion of fans. Harold has almost as much dialogue as Charlie himself in this one. In fact, all the players deliver solidly with the one notable exception of the player who is finally unmasked as the killer. Oddly, said player is happily convincing up to that moment but is then totally unable to strike the right murderous attitudes. Fortunately, the rest of the cast line-up more than compensates for this lapse, particularly Louise Henry (a charmingly vivacious catalyst), Joan Woodbury (who performs a torrid dance number with eye-catching dexterity), and the wonderfully perky heroine, Joan Marsh.
Director Forde's staging varies from happily out-of-the-box (the cortege of welcoming police cars speeding off to the blaring strains of "Chinatown, My Chinatown"), to the reasonably stylish (Miss Woodbury versus the camera hounds) to the inconspicuously incompetent (a couple of wrong angles here and there that edit none too smoothly).
As for the mystery itself, it's not only quite intriguing but fast paced and most lavishly (by "B"-picture standards) presented. Harry Jackson's lustrous photography deserves a special commendation.
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