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  • On board the S.S. Newcastle bound from Honolulu to Samoa, Charlie Chan is approached by a fellow passenger who reveals himself as Scott Pearson of the Treasure Department; he's on a strictly secret mission concerning 'hot' money on the islands, but there have already been two attempts made on his life and so he asks Charlie for help. Charlie suggests that the best place to observe all the other passengers is the lounge, where a party is being held for the crossing of the Equator - but the danger comes from OUTSIDE: through the blinds of a window, a knife shoots right into Pearson's back...

    Together with Captain Black, Charlie goes through Pearson's secret papers, where a mysterious 'Lane' is mentioned - but who is he?? More or less EVERYBODY on board seems suspicious in some way: loud-mouthed 'cotton trader' Burke, a Swedish trader called Erickson and his Samoan wife, Rona Simonds who poses as a tourist, but there seems to be something wrong with her papers, and the ship's purser George Brace obviously covers up for her, strange ichthyologist Prof. Martin, Reverend Whipple and his ugly wife...

    When they land in Samoa, things become even more complicated: we find out that Burke blackmails Rona, then that he himself also knows things he hasn't admitted - and then more knives come flying through the air... And finally, Charlie's favorite 'number two son' Jimmy and Chattanooga make a GREAT discovery!

    A real treat for all fans of complicated crime movies - and a big joy for the fans of the 'Charlie Chan' series: Sen Yung (who'd been serving in the US Airforce Intelligence during the War!) is back again as Jimmy! Not that Benson Fong as 'Tommy', or the other 'members' of Charlie's large family who'd played his assistants in between, hadn't added a great lot of entertainment to the movies they'd played in; but Jimmy is - well, just Jimmy... Fresh and rash and self-confident as always, he and ever-frightened 'Chattanooga' Willie Best make an EXCELLENT duo here to lighten up the murderous plot!
  • Ocean-going steamships and trains make great settings for 1940s mysteries. Charlie didn't have any adventures in a train, but this is the second on a ship--the third if you count the docked sailing ship in one of his outings. Toler is outstanding as always, in one of the greatest ongoing screen characterizations of an ideal film detective: clever, humane, with a sense of humor and of justice. It's his ability to make Chan so very likeable which really elevates these films, putting them, on the whole, on about the same level as the great Universal Sherlock Holmes films with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. And Toler never had the support of a truly first-rate, all-pro actor, as Rathbone had in Bruce. This movie is pure fun. Lots of action. The humor is sometimes very corny, but that's part of the charm. Highly recommended!
  • xnet9529 November 2010
    Warning: Spoilers
    Most of the Monogram Chan's fall somewhere between mediocre and horrendous, but this one was actually interesting. It had some thought put into it and definitely made the most out of its small budget. One of the previous reviewers said the movie was too claustrophobic. This is one of my biggest complaints about Monogram Chan's, but Dangerous Money does a great job of avoiding that. There are many different sets and scenes on the boat, plus there's the added bonus of all the different scenes on the island, which included some exterior beauty shots.

    Another aspect of this movie I liked was the absence of Bumbleham Brown. He always seems to take over and dominate the scenes he's in, which usually detracts from the mysterious mood that has been created. In Dangerous Money, Chattanooga and Jimmy Chan are more in the background and less obtrusive. I love the last scene where Charlie strangles his moronic son for almost killing Chattanooga. I wonder if they did that because so many viewers had fantasized about doing it themselves over the years?

    At certain points, the story is difficult to follow, so make sure you have the remote ready. There are a few things that don't make sense, like why the hell did the criminal gang want Rona Simmonds to come to Samoa? It makes no sense, she could identify the missing objects of art. Did they want her to verify that they were authentic? They obviously didn't do it to lure her to her death because they never tried to kill her. Why did Freddie Kirk contact her father to come to Samoa?

    Another nice thing about this film is that it is in the public domain. The print that I watched from was crisp and sharp, with good contrast - black and white at it's best. Also, keep your eyes on Miss Simmonds breasts. I swear that they inflate or deflate as the situation calls for. It's mind boggling.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Dangerous Money" is an aptly named Charlie Chan film in which Sidney Toler's character investigates a pair of murders relating to illegal trading in "hot money" and stolen art. The action takes place aboard the S.S. Newcastle heading to Australia via Samoa. Along for the ride are Number #2 Son Jimmy (Victor Sen Yung) and assistant Chattanooga Brown (Willie Best). Charlie doesn't have much time to solve the case as he's committed to another investigation on arrival in Sydney. Be prepared for more uncomfortable racial insinuations, as Jimmy converses with Chattanooga via walkie talkie using the code names "Chop Suey 108" and "Pork Chop 711". Once again Chan/Toler demonstrates his dancing skill in a film; in "Red Dragon", he cut a mean rumba, here he slows it down a bit, but still quite smoothly with a shipboard waltz.

    Passenger Rona Simmonds (Gloria Warren) and ship's pursar George Brace (Joseph Allen) are hiding a secret for which she is being blackmailed. She is traveling with false papers, smuggled on board in an attempt to identify art stolen from her banker father. International businessman P.T. Burke (Dick Elliott) uses his position to extort a valuable necklace from Simmonds, but as we've seen before, there is another villain masterminding the action from a loftier height. He is flushed out by Charlie in a convenient "lights out" scene intended to add to the confusion.

    I have to admit, it's difficult to follow most Charlie Chan films without keeping a personal scorecard, and even so, the revelation of the killer almost always comes as a surprise. Chan himself best expresses this in a line from the film - "Kangaroo reaches destination also by leaps and bounds".
  • bkoganbing4 October 2012
    Warning: Spoilers
    Dangerous Money finds Charlie Chan on a cruise ship bound for the South Seas. When treasury agent Tris Coffin makes contact with Sidney Toler for help with a case, Toler is able to foil one attempt at Coffin's life, but he's with him when Coffin dies as a result of a knife thrown into his back.

    Around lending as much assistance as Toler can tolerate are Victor Sen Yung as number 2 son and Willie Best as Chattanooga pinch-hitting for Mantan Moreland as Birmingham. The key to this whole case is Gloria Warren playing the daughter of a Manila banker who stashed a lot of loot and art treasure to keep from the Japanese in the late war.

    There is a very interesting red herring thrown into this Chan film One of the characters is a loudmouth salesman who is running all over the ship making threats, extorting people, and acting guilty as all get out. When unmasked he just turns out to be a petty crook working a small time racket. I won't say who, but the performance might be the best one in the film.

    Cheap Monogram production values, but the script and story is a good one for the Monogram Chan films made.
  • Charlie is on board a cruise ship. While there he is approached by a government agent. He represents the Treasury Department. After confiding to Chan that there have been threats on his life, he is killed. Tommy and Chattanooga are on board as his assistants (I thought he was on vacation, but). There are several plots at work. A young couple is keeping some sort of secret. There is a blowhard who is driving everyone crazy with his invasive behavior. People are being killed with knives that are thrown with amazing accuracy. To complicate things, there is a knife thrower on board. Anyway, it's typical Chan. There is the obligatory scene where the lights are turned off and chaos ensues. The writers really couldn't let go of some obviously tired plot elements.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I wish someone could tell me why Willie Best played 'Chattanooga Brown' in a couple late Charlie Chan films. After all, Mantan Moreland had played 'Birmingham Brown' in quite a few Chan films--why was he briefly replaced? And, did they really think people would just accept 'Chattanooga'?! He wasn't a good addition to 1945's "The Red Dragon" and now he's back for one final appearance in the Chan series...but why?!

    As for the plot, it's pretty typical. As was often the case, Charlie Chan is on vacation--during which time someone is murdered (in this a US government agent). This time is occurs aboard a cruise ship--also not the first time for this series. So, it's up to Charlie and two bumbling assistants (#3 son and Chattanooga) to solve this case. Considering he always did, it's probably not too much of a stretch to say that once again he'll be successful. So this make you wonder why the criminals didn't just kill Charlie first!

    Among the many possible suspects is Mr. Burke--played by the very familiar actor, Dick Elliott. Usually, Elliott played bumbling and rather dim individuals--here he plays a slimy and rather dangerous character. But is he the killer or just a horrid little blackmailer and all-around jerk?

    Overall, this is an exceptionally familiar sort of Chan story...without Mantan Moreland. The only things that set this one apart are that you see Charlie shoot a couple people (though, not surprisingly for a B-film, he never kills any of them--they're only flesh wounds!) and one of the passengers is a cross-dresser!! It's slightly below average in quality, but considering that Chan films are always worth watching, it's still worth your time.
  • Charlie Chan (Sidney Toler) investigates when a treasury agent is murdered aboard an ocean liner. Penultimate Toler Chan film has some pros & cons. The pros: Jimmy Chan (Victor Sen Yung) is assisting his father. Jimmy breathes life into the Monogram series which, with the exception of the one movie with Frances Chan as Charlie's daughter, saw Charlie saddled with lifeless sidekick Benson Fong and bug-eyed comedian Mantan Moreland. Another pro is the decent supporting cast that includes Dick Elliott, Richard Vallin, Joseph Crehan, and pretty Gloria Warren. The cons: typically cheap Monogram production, as well as the inclusion of stereotypical comic relief Chattanooga Brown (Willie Best). This is the second and final appearance of Chattanooga in the series. Thankfully, he's overshadowed by the likable personality of Victor Sen Yung. Not a particularly strong Chan film, but helped by the presence of Jimmy.
  • A foggy night on a cruise ship. Charlie Chan huddles at the rail with a man who confides that he is a government agent investigating hot money circulating in the islands. Already two attempts have been made on his life. Chan nods sagely.

    It's an atmospheric opening that sets the scene nicely, reminiscent of the best Chan mysteries made several years earlier. Various characters slink by or stop to say hello as Chan and the agent talk....all suspects?

    Moments later, sure enough, the government man is struck down in the ball room, victim of a knife thrown by an unseen hand. Chan takes on both the murder and the counterfeiting investigations.

    Sidney Toler is fine once again as the famous detective. Sen Yung and Willie Best are along as Mr. Chan's assistants, and while this series entry has less comedy than usual, Yung and Best do manage to get some humor out of a pair of two-way radios they use in their efforts to spy on passengers and gather clues.

    Overall, the plot is nothing special but manages to hold together for 66 minutes. The cast is solid and includes some familiar faces like ship captain Joseph Crehan. It's not the best Charlie Chan movie but certainly a decent late series entry.

    Best movie prop ever: One of the suspects is a professor of ichthyology and he spends most of the movie carrying around a big book called simply FISH.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    ****SPOILERS**** When nothing else works Honolulu detective Charlie Chan uses a gun very unconvincingly to solve the case of the knife throwing killer. Thst while on a sea cruse to the South Pacific island paradise of Somoa on the SS Newcastle. This all started when a passenger on the ship US Treasury Agent Scott Reed who had two attempts on his life already was murdered at a party when the Newcastle was about to cross the Equator.

    Charlie taking on the murder case, he own the dead Agent Reed that much, is himself attacked by the mysterious knife trowing killer only to escape and make it to the island of Somoa where the real action starts that has nothing to do with luaus or half naked dancing hula's girls. It turns out that a load of cash, mostly confederate, as well as valuable art objects smuggled out of the Philippines when they were occupied by the Japanese was hidden there and not reported to the US Treasury-that's where Scott Reed came in-to be assessed and taxed by the US Government!

    ****SPOILERS*** Charlie despite being hampered by his #3 son Jimmy and his bumbling sidekick Chattanooga Brown is finally able to solve the case but only after a number of the cast mostly suspects in Scott Reed's murderer were themselves murdered by the mysterious knife throwing killer. Charlie in the end has to shoot it out with the bad guys like a Clint Eastwood to finally solve the case which is not like the slow moving and brainy Charlie Chan that we've learned to like & love over the years. The biggest mystery is not who the killer was but how he was able to throw his knives so accurately and not leave any fingerprints on them!
  • pbalos27 June 2000
    Much of the action takes place on a ship. Typical acting for a Chan flick with some comedy provided by sidekick Chatanooga. Not one of the best Toler movies, but not the worse. Poor direction and weak story line. Might be alright for a rainy day.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Rather low-budget Monogram Charlie Chan vehicle. Not exactly the worse of the series of mysteries; but a long way from being one of the best. Chan(Sidney Toler)is aboard an ocean liner with Number Two son Jimmy(Victor Sen Young)and temporary assistant Chattanooga Brown(Willie Best). A United States Treasury agent informs Chan that attempts on his life have twice failed and that he is undercover trying to recover a large sum of money and valuable artworks stolen from a Philippine bank. The agent ends up with a knife in his back and Chan will need the man's portfolio to garner clues to his murderer and maybe some info that will lead to the stolen artwork. A typical array of suspects to interrogate. Jimmy and Chattanooga are actually helpful when they stumble over the valuable objects in a fish museum. The murderer will be obvious. Other players: Dick Ellliott, Gloria Warren, Rick Vallin, John Harmon and Joseph Crehan.
  • Another poor Monogram Charlie Chan film. The production values, story, acting and directing are very weak. The story is uninteresting. A ship to the South Seas would have been fun in a 20th Century Fox Chan movie but not so here. Only of note because this was the second and final time Willie Best played Chatanooga. Otherwise, one to skip.
  • tedg28 December 2006
    Storywise, this is yet another disposable Chan story, industrialized movie-making.

    There are two things of interest here.

    One is how the needs of the Chan franchise ferret out peculiar corners of the American national story. In this case the US was well into the beginning of administering regions in the Pacific. This gave opportunities for new kinds of crime and the novelty of the crime was one of the attractions of the series at this point. So we have the smuggling of colonial currency, an esoteric illegality — and the use of new weapon, a "knifethrowing" pistol.

    Ho hum. I suppose that will be interesting to historians. But for students of film there's a lesson here too. What do you do if your story depends on matters of race and you want to exploit that but also want to bury it? You fold it into other narrative elements of race.

    For those who don't know the franchise, it was very long and successful. It stars a white guy pretending to be a Chinese master detective, the acting mostly through a halting English and a few phrases like: "a hasty man can drink tea with a fork." Incidentally, this fits in an odd place in the detective genre because we never really see any detecting, any real wisdom. The only thing we see is him setting traps with the trap revealing the hidden crook. He never figures it out directly.

    Back to race. Chan's race is hidden twice. First, we have one of his sons as "assistant," a comic, bumbling idiot. This truly is racist and deliberately so. The contrast between the son (played by a real Asian) and his lack of insight and his father is amplified by the physical appearance and the obvious appearance.

    And this is further folded or shadowed (an appropriate term) by the black guy. He is placed as far from the son in all dimensions as the son is from the father. He is that much more comic, and independently clueless, and also independently "ethnic." Its a vile notion to exploit by today's standards, but the method of shadowed folding is clear.

    Its a device used in literature, but much more common in film because you can link so many more qualities in parallel, here all aligned to "detection" qualities. That Africanamerican's name is Chattanooga, derived probably from Jack Benny's "man" Rochester.

    Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
  • I was always a big Charlie Chan fan. I saw most of them as I was growing up and I liked Sidney Toler over Warner Oland. I had never see this one before, and it must be one of the few clinkers in the Charlie Chan canon. It is a stagebound film with no exterior shots and suffers from a very weak screenplay and spotty direction. And none of the Warner Oland's were this low in quality.

    Now, I understand Monogram's predicament as a Poverty Row studio and the financial problems involved, but they should have been able to find a better script writer than the one who wrote this misfire. Cast was good, and they substituted Willie Best for Mantan Moreland in the Pop-Eyed comic relief role. But the film bites off more than can be chewed and the result is a slap-dash product which tries to squeeze in too much, and results in my rating above.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    DANGEROUS MONEY is yet another cheapie instalment in the long-running Charlie Chan series; this one has Sidney Toler playing the eponymous hero. The setting is an ocean liner, where various murders are taking place and Chan has to figure things out with the aid of his associates. Mantan Moreland doesn't play in this one, instead replaced by a younger guy called Chattanooga (!). The ocean liner setting is fun and reminiscent of PURSUIT TO ALGIERS, while the short running time means it flies along remarkably quickly.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Review - Dangerous Money, Released 10-12-46 Greed is the central theme, with murder following, because of the rapacity. According to Charlie Chan, the hot or stolen money got loose through the ruthless process of war, renegades raid the cash and steal the loot. The money was described as hot money by the federal agent, currency was circulating among the Pacific islands, that was purloined from multiple sources at war's end. Each scoundrel in the movie had the edacity to fill his own coffers with someone else's gains, including American currency and art objects. --- Charlie Chan is destined for Sydney from his Honolulu home on a passenger-cruise ship, when he is met by Scott Pearson, U.S. Treasury Agent. The agent has had his life threatened twice, thrice with a near-miss talking to Chan, finally he meets his maker minutes later, at the hands of the killer. The agent was tracking hot money, so-described by the Treasury man, and later, quoted by the varlets on board. Charlie becomes involved due to Pearson's murder. Between the time of the killing at sea and before the ship leaves Samoa, after its 24-hour stop, Charlie is able to uproot all the guilty parties. --- Charlie tells the ship's Captain, there are only two clues given us by Pearson's log: a Mr. Lane and Samoa. The Captain adds Pearson told him, he was worried leaving Honolulu, he was going to finish his work on Samoa. Pearson must have thought the stuff was taken to Samoa. Chan comments to the Captain, money seems to be traveling with Mr. Lane to Samoa, because agent's murder indicates Scott was approaching prey; essentially, getting closer to the crooks, including his own murderer. --- Charlie talks to all the active parties in the salon immediately after the federal agent was killed with a knife to the back. The murderer is on board the ship, money is stashed likely on Samoa, the mission is to capture all the guilty parties, major and minor, while in port for the twenty-four hour stay. Some suspects are eliminated by the knife killer, some need to be caught with their hands in the stolen loot. --- The process begins with Chan catching the bad guys when one jumps overboard, two are killed, and the assistants literally stumble over the stashed, stolen currency and art objects. The ship's brig has to be brimming with prisoners after Charlie uses his guile and pistol to catch everyone. A definite watch is in order for anyone to enjoy how the plot thickens and the criminals are caught. --- I liked this movie for several reasons: the main character was in the majority of the scenes, and right from the start, i.e. Charlie Chan. It was indeed a mystery, whereby nobody knew who the murderer was until the last few minutes of the show, i.e. the actual killer was not obvious; identified only at the end. There were numerous bad guys, one was considered a minor conspirator, one killer, there were plenty of characters involved in the central plot, clues were limited, really limited. The story was centered in two primary locations, i.e. on shipboard and in one Samoan port city, at two locations, an inn and a ichthyology museum. The museum artifacts, i.e. fish species, were stuffed with cash. Also found, objects of art included a Gauguin painting, were stolen from a private collection. The killer uses a projectile device to launch daggers, sent very accurately, to their intended targets. The killer is also disguised as a married woman, the primary suspect, the killer's fake-husband, named by the original Treasury Agent trailing the criminal was Lane and Murdock was the killer. There some loose ends and some nonsensical scenes, or at least scenes not essential to the plot. Why does Charlie need his chauffer on a cruise, e.g. for the rental car in any port-of-call? Showman Kirk contacted Rona Simmons' father in London to arrange the journey-cruise from Hawaii to Samoa, because there are certain objects once stored in banks in Manila? Why was Kirk killed? Burke? Greed would be answer to the killings on Samoa. Why share the bounty with any more people than absolutely necessary.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The best quality of "Dangerous Money" is Charlie Chan's habit for metaphors and aphorisms, like the one mentioned above, or "Kangaroos also reach destination by leaps and bounds". The script is often muddled, the multiple suspects, with few exceptions, are not distinct enough as characters (maybe because they are played by an almost completely unknown cast), Sidney Toler is a bit stodgy as Chan (he does well with the funny lines, though), and Willie Best's comic relief is a matter of taste, however I would advise you to watch this film if only for one truly memorable and outrageous surprise at the end. You may well forget the rest of the picture a day or two later, but I doubt you'll forget that surprise anytime soon. Production values are decent for a Monogram film. ** out of 4.