Dead Men Tell (1941)

Article 3127 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-19-2009
Posting Date: 3-7-2010
Directed by Harry Lachman
Featuring Sidney Toler, Sheila Ryan, Robert Weldon
Country: USA
What it is: Charlie Chan mystery with some spooky touches

Here’s another entry in the Charlie Chan series, many of which I’ve already covered for this series. As usual, the horror element is slighter than it is in a real horror movie (this is a mystery), but it’s actually strong enough here that I can see why this one qualifies. Part of the story revolves around an ancestral peg-legged hook-handed pirate whose ghost appears to members of his family at the moment of their deaths, and the first appearance of the “ghost” here is genuinely eerie. Sidney Toler is charming as usual as Chan, and some of the other cast members are interesting; George Reeves plays a reporter who is not what he seems, and Milton Parsons plays – no, not an undertaker, but a neurotic man who occasionally can’t control certain desires. There’s a talking parrot here, but fortunately he’s not overused for comic purposes, and even plays a part in the solution of the mystery. All in all, this is an enjoyable entry in the series.

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