Black Magic (1944)

aka Charlie Chan in Black Magic, Meeting at Midnight
Article 1871 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-29-2006
Posting Date: 9-26-2006
Directed by Phil Rosen
Featuring Sidney Toler, Mantan Moreland, Frances Chan

Authorities are baffled when a man dies from a bullet wound at a seance, but no bullet is found and none of the suspects carry guns. Charlie Chan is forced to cancel his trip to Honolulu when his daughter becomes a suspect in the case.

This is another of the Monogram Charlie Chan films, and though it’s fun enough, it pales next to the Twentieth Century Fox series that preceded it. The horror content is fairly noticeable in this one, as the mystery involves a seance, hypnotism, magicians, and Mantan Moreland being convinced that there are spooks in the house. Fans of Moreland in particular should like this one; though most of his gags involve him being scared, his timing is impeccable as usual. It’s interesting to have one of Chan’s daughters appear in this one rather than one of his sons, and, if IMBD is correct, the actress playing Frances Chan is also named Frances Chan, who appeared in only a handful of movies during the early forties. I think the mystery is a little on the weak side, but there is a nice sense of fun at times.


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