Dangerous Money, Released 10-12-46
Scott Pearson, U.S. Treasury Agent, introduces himself to Charlie Chan, on board a fog-shrouded ocean liner, stating he has had two attempts on his life recently. Agent Pearson says he has been under strict orders to remain undercover and to investigate hot money from the Philippines. P.T. Burke runs into Charlie on deck, commenting about the fog, and the show, starting soon in the Salon; Burke exits inside. Suddenly, another attempt is made on Agent Pearson's life, with a block and tackle being cut from above, by an unidentified person. Charlie saves the agent from the heavy mechanism, crashing into the ship's railing. Charlie inspects the cut rope, confirming the deliberate attempt on the agent's life. Pearson suggests they go to his cabin, however, Chan tells Pearson, the show is the perfect opportunity to observe all persons on board. They enter the salon, seeing the showman knife thrower in action. Charlie and Agent Pearson watch the knife thrower on stage, demonstrating his prowess with knives, a pretty lady is part of the act, standing perfectly still as he tosses the blades at the board behind her. He concludes his performance, bowing to the audience, assistant at his side.
Jimmy Chan and Chattanooga Brown are walking along the ship deck, Jimmy is peeking into the Salon, sighting his father. Chan and Pearson sit at a table, while the emcee introduces the show, a couple gets up, leaving the audience, exiting the Salon. A set of eyes is seen through a slightly open door, when a knife is flung into the back of Pearson, killing him instantly; he collapses, face down seated next to Chan. Purser Brace calls for the Captain, Burke comes over to Charlie's table, staring at the body of the agent. Charlie says man is dead. The ship's doctor is summoned. Charlie's assistants are still deck side; Jimmy witnesses the killing, goes inside. The Captain has Brace take charge, while he follows Chan. Everyone is ordered by the Captain to stay in the Salon, until Chan releases them. Assistants are requested to remain in the Salon and keep a vigilant eye open. Burke is long-winded, explaining anyone of the people on board could have thrown the knife, even him. Burke continues blaming any islander on the throwing and killing.
Charlie and the Captain enter Scott Pearson's room, see the place has been ransacked, his papers gone, but his portfolio is in the Ship's safe, according to the Captain. The Captain had the Agent's confidence, i.e. knowing his secret identity. The Captain was also aware of the hot money circulating about the islands. Pearson told the Captain he was worried leaving Honolulu. Pearson was going to finish his work on Samoa, per the Captain. The Captain insists Charlie takes over Pearson's work, but Chan says he has a commitment in Sydney, which would not allow him he to remain in Samoa for a long time. The ship's doctor had the body removed, the weapon preserved, wrapped in a cloth napkin for Chan to hold. The doctor informs Chan the only two men leaving the Salon were the two men removing the body.
A couple, missionary Reverend Dr. Whipple and Mrs. Whipple, wish to leave the Salon, Jimmy blocks their way, Charlie announces nobody leaves the Salon. Charlie tells the couple he noticed they are wanting to leave just as Pearson was killed. Harold Mayfair vouches for Professor and Mrs. Martin, the professor tells Harold he can speak for himself. Martin tells Chan he established an ichthyology office on Samoa before the war, and now that the war is over, he is returning to his museum. If Mr. Chan wants us to remain here, we shall, comments Martin. Tao Erickson says he is a trader, his wife in their state room with a headache, the Doctor gave Mrs. Erickson a pill for her headache before the show started. The ship's doctor says he went to his cabin after giving Mrs. Erickson her medicine; a veteran on such cruises, he has seen his fair share already. Laura Erickson enters, goes to her husband's side, informing Charlie, she was told by the Steward of the killing. Rona Simmons tells Charlie, she is destined for Samoa. Charlie tells Brace and the Captain, he might question more passengers tomorrow. Freddie Kirk, the knife thrower, is bound for Sidney, informing Chan. Miss Simmons is staying at the Erickson's residence, in Pago Pago, for two weeks' vacation. Charlie Chan excuses the passengers and crew from the Salon. Charlie confides in the Captain, each passenger is very congenial toward one another. The Captain comments, there is a lot of vouching among the people on board.
The next morning, George Brace and Rona Simmons, are talking about their secret, with Rona worried for Brace. Before he can coach Rona, Chan happens upon them on deck, inviting them to join him in his cabin after lunch for a private talk. Charlie leaves them, they embrace in a kiss.
In Charlie's room, the Captain hands Charlie the Scott Pearson portfolio, leaving it for him to have first perusal. The hot or stolen money got loose through the ruthless process of war according to Charlie. Renegades raid the cash and steal the loot. The portfolio states a man named Lane was vaguely mentioned in a document; after the war, actions included the stealing of American money. A Mr. Lane and Samoa seem to be the only clues. Pearson must have thought the stuff was taken to Samoa. 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. Jimmy and Chattanooga connive to get the Ship's doctor's fingerprints. The doctor is wise to their scam, stating please leave the detective work to the senior Chan.
George Brace and Rona Simmons are in Chan's cabin, as he assures them he is simply gathering information. Charlie asks if they knew a Mr. Lane or the identity of the man killed. They concur not knowing the identity of a Mr. Lane and not knowing anything about the murdered man. Brace signaled to Simmons to be silent about their secret. Chan says they both have evaded his questions for the past thirty minutes, interview has ended for today.
Jimmy is told by Charlie to meet him after dinner with Chattanooga, to find no prints and to confirm theory. Chattanooga falls through an air duct onto the ship's grill, where Big Ben, the dishwasher, asks about his detective work. Ben is bribed and follows the number two assistant. Mrs. Martin and Harold Mayfair talk on deck about how detective Chan might stop them from going ashore; Mr. Martin is aside them, perusing a book. The Whipple's pass the three, sitting nearby. Burke enters the area, joins in the conversation on deck, saying he knows there is hot money being exchanged for cut rates, and he is otherwise annoying everyone around him, particularly the Whipple's. Burke joins Kirk, they encounter Charlie, investigation proceeding, comments Chan. The Steward is serving afternoon tea, Charlie tells the Steward to serve his dinner early, in his cabin, he has much work to do. It was obvious he was telegraphing his whereabouts for later. Jimmy and Chattanooga notice Charlie's dark room, the light is doused in their adjoining room, by Chan's directive. With rooms dark, a makeshift disguised Chan is at the table, Charlie hides behind a chair, a person can be seen eyes in the louvers. A knife is catapulted at the disguised figure, sticking in the board supporting the hat. Charlie knew the killer was to strike again, and through the hallway door. Jimmy and Chattanooga watched the attempted murder take place, as they witnessed the eyes through the louvers. Jimmy tests the thrown knife for fingerprints; there are none, blade was wiped, never touched. Charlie's suggestion to assistants, perhaps knife never touched by human hands. Perhaps knife was never thrown through the two-inch slats.
Charlie and the Captain meet Tao and Laura Erickson in the hallway, Chan requests waltz with Mrs. Erickson. She says she will take him up on the proposition, after her husband's first dance. Erickson says everyone is guessing on the murderer Mr. Chan. The Captain says he wouldn't put it past them either, after they had left. Charlie adds if every suspect the Captain has were to be put into brig, he would require a very large brig.
In the salon, Harold Mayfair asks Mrs. Martin for a dance, Professor Martin consents. Charlie dances with Mrs. Erickson. Pete the Steward tells an entering Rona Simmons, Mr. Burke wants to see her. Charlie tells Mrs. Erickson the ship will be in port twenty four hours, he says he will go ashore when ship docks, to take advantage of her hospitality. While dancing, Chan notices Burke and Kirk leave the bar for the deck. Charlie nudges the Captain showing the two characters leaving the salon; he peeks through the blinds watching them. On deck, Pete has done Burke a favor, requesting payment for his services, rather than pay, Burke threatens Pete, saying he will be taken care of later. Burke blackmails Simmons, shaking her down with threats to expose the secret, she and Purser Brace share. She says the money is in the pursers safe, she says the time to access the safe is when they are in port. Burke threatens her, get the money when they dock in port or else. Kirk says keep your word, and we will keep your secret. Simmons says you will get your payment when we arrive in port. She comes into the salon, where Chan was watching the meeting. Brace meets Rona in the salon, she claims her fright is just nerves, as they begin to dance. Chan speaks to the Captain, he has nothing yet, but intends not to work fast and alarm quarry. The Captains asks Chan to include the Whipple's in his search.
Burke and Kirk are looking for Steward Pete, he knows too much and must be silenced. Pete is within earshot, but hidden, Pete jumps overboard, a crew member throws a lifesaver, yells man overboard. The crew member recognized Pete as the jumper. The man is capable of swimming ashore to the nearest island to save his own life, according to Chan, talking to the Captain. Pete is unimportant to solve the crime. Chattanooga tells Jimmy, steerage carrying Big Ben carries a large roll of cash. Jimmy suggests following Ben everywhere. Find out where he bunks, maybe he has incriminating evidence, possibly knives. Packing to go ashore, the Captain hands Charlie a cable from son Tommy, it reads Miss Simmons father was a banker in Australia, stranded in Manila, on way to U.S.A. with many valuable art objects. Charlie does not want to disturb suspects, knows there is bigger quarry lurking. Asking the Captain, when they can go ashore. The Captain says an hour. Jimmy alerts Chattanooga they are going ashore soon, while he searches Big Ben's bunk area. Chattanooga scares away Big Ben, after he spies Ben's bankroll he takes from his footlocker and puts in his pocket.
At Tao Erickson's Mango Inn, the Whipples are walking arm in arm toward the Inn, enter the bar to dine, and are seated by hostess Laura Erickson, who also checks with Chan and the Captain, if they wish to order dinner, they say later. Miss Simmons enters, goes to the bar, sits. Kirk and Burke are seated, Kirk gets up, goes to sit at the bar, next to Miss Simmons. Charlie asks the Captain to observe Kirk, who handed a note to Simmons, to meet on the veranda, in five minutes. Simmons nods approval to showman Kirk. Brace is checking his purser accounts and will be ashore soon, according to the Captain, as Chan asked the whereabouts of young lady's fiancé. Simmons leaves the bar in a hurry, Chan invites the Captain to join him, for his idea may prove to be interesting.
Burke and Kirk leave the bar, talk about the scheme Burke is trying to pull. Burke says he is waiting on Simmons, she arrives, handing a jeweled necklace to Burke; she saying there is no code of ethics in your field. Simmons departs and Burke runs into Charlie and the Captain, asking Burke to step inside the adjoining room, retaining package from lady. Charlie tells Burke he has fishing very dangerous waters. Burke says no harm done if you get caught. Burke squirms, handing jewels to Charlie, who reminds Burke he is on American soil, Charlie tells him he is dealing in blackmail.
Charlie explains to Burke his behavior changed, first when American agent was killed, you assumed natural role, loud talking, a braggard, a know-it-all, then suddenly, you changed completely, you become furtive, conferring frequently with Freddie Kirk and with deserting Steward Pete, during that time you have gained certain knowledge. Chan tells Burke he does not trade, will not let Burke go. On board ship, you somehow learned Miss Simmons is travelling under false papers, you suspect Mr. Brace, the purser, has falsified accounts, smuggling her under the passenger list. You use this knowledge for blackmail, soon becoming aware there is something far deeper underneath than two lovers falsifying papers in order to be together. You begin all these activities on the night of the murder, when you learned someone had borrowed Steward Pete's coat. Charlie demands from Burke, who borrowed Steward Pete's coat? As Burke stands to negotiate his response, a knife is propelled at Burke, killing him, he falls flat, Charlie goes to the door, looks out, to find nobody. Burke was killed with a knife through the neck. Charlie says, he would have talked, but Burke could be considered a minor conspirator. Chan requests the Captain have Navy Services remove Burke, also, find Freddie Kirk, informing him, casually, that Burke is dead. Careful to keep matter secret from the others. Charlie says showman Kirk is unaware Burke is dead. Kirk's actions may prove significant. Meet me later, in the bar, Captain, and if you see my two assistants, please ask them to report.
Chattanooga tells Jimmy, he went after Big Ben since leaving the ship. Ben cons the watchman into buying hot dice. As Ben leaves the guard, he is mugged by the two assistants, who discover afterward, the bankroll Ben carries is mostly scrap paper, worth nothing. Ben comes by again to pocket the real currency tossed on the ground. The two assistants hide. Chan meets Brace and Simmons, requests a word with Simmons, returning her necklace, informing her Mr. Burke is dead. Chan confronts Brace, stating he is British, travelling under improper visa. Charlie tells Brace and Simmons that she is in Samoa to locate and identify certain objects once stored in banks in Manilla. Chan says her father did a noble act, choosing to save his wife and children, rather than objects of art. Simmons father is too ill to make the trip. Brace tells Chan, it was Kirk who contacted Simmons' father in London, to arrange the journey. Chan requests the couple to take special care of themselves tonight, he promising to contact them later. Jimmy and Chattanooga enter the unlit museum, the guard follows their sounds, as they look around, Chattanooga stumbles over a crate of artifacts, spilling a stuffed fish filled with cash. They run out of there to find Charlie.
Captain Black tells Charlie that Kirk knows about Burke, he saw them carrying the body out, when he was hanging around on the veranda. Charlie believes Kirk will make his next move through fear. In walks Kirk, he goes to the bar, when Mrs. Erickson wanders toward him and back to her husband, whispering something to him, prompting Mr. Erickson, to get up, say goodbye to Mrs. Whipple, and talk briefly to Kirk at the bar. Kirk leaves the bar, Charlie and the Captain follow.
Kirk slowly heads toward the Martin Museum, Charlie and Captain Black watch Kirk. Kirk sees someone in the door louvers, he reverses, is struck down by a knife, coming from the Museum entrance. Kirk is dead, confirmed by Charlie, commenting the thrower is an expert. Chattanooga and Jimmy rush from the Museum, telling Charlie, there is money stuffed in the museum artifacts. Charlie's orders for Jimmy is to get Miss Simmons and George Brace here immediately. The Captain opens a fish-art-piece, to have cash pour from its insides. Charlie pulls a painting rolled inside another fish. Rona Simmons recognizes the famous painting as a Gauguin, belonging to a wealthy banker. Jimmy and Chattanooga have the museum guard bound and muffled.
Charlie hears many people coming toward the museum, requests everyone to hide and be quiet. Charlie draws his pistol, as a group approaches the building. Enter Laura Erickson, turning on the lights, followed by Professor Martin, his wife Cynthia, Tao Erickson, carrying a rifle, Harold Mayfair, Dr. Whipple and Mrs. Whipple. Tao Erickson questions the people, as he notices relics strewn about the area. Chan orders Erickson to drop his gun, Charlie shoots Erickson, asks where are others, as Mrs. Erickson confronts Charlie. Dr. Whipple, holding a pistol in his hands, enters, ordering everybody to raise their hands.
Charlie shuts off the lights, Chan shoots Whipple, turns on the lights. Charlie requests Grace to cover others, as he moves toward the Whipple's, shielding himself beside a door. Knives are thrown at Charlie, hitting the door and crates, Charlie fires his gun at the thrower, Mrs. Whipple, disguised as a woman, but the Captain takes a punch, and delivers a punch to the killer. Charlie identifies the man as Joseph Murdock, handyman, valet and Dr. Whipple is Theodore Lane. Lane asks Chan how he identified him. Chan says the walk of Murdock in the bar, early in the evening lead Charlie to know something was not right. The knives were catapulted by a firing mechanism, a gun-like projection device, which Jimmy accidentally demonstrates, before Charlie relieves him of it.