Top critical review
Crime and Corruption
on January 5, 2017
Charlie Chan on Broadway, 1937 film
There is a ship on the ocean. Charlie Chan and his son Lee are aboard. A man enters another room and searches it; a woman calls for help! Was anything stolen? Later that woman visits the Chan’s room and hides a package. A New York City detective visits the dock to meet Charlie Chan. They want him for a banquet that night. That woman will go to the same hotel as Charlie Chan; she left town suddenly last year. A photographer sells a picture to a newspaper publisher. Miss Bronson offers a story to the newspaper publisher for that night. Lee Chan is bumped by a passing man; then his cash is gone! He returns and finds Miss Bronson by his door. A mistake?
There is an event at the “Hottentot Club”. Miss Bronson is told to leave town. Lee finds a way to enter the club. Johnny meets Miss Bronson in the manager’s office; there is conflict. Chan speaks to the NY police at the banquet. There is an interruption. Billie Bronson has been murdered, Lee Chan is held as a suspect! Chan suggests the films taken should be inspected. The witnesses talk to the police detective. Chan inspects a photograph of the room. The lights go out! There is confusion. Johnny Burke escaped! The photograph shows a hotel key - for Chan’s room. They go there and find a man’s body! He was on the steamship. Chan figures out what happened. There is another surprise. They go to Miss Bronson’s hotel room and find a man.
Miss Bronson’s diary has information on rackets and politics. The police are after Burke as a suspect. The paraffin test can reveal who shot a pistol. It is negative for Burke. Chan suggests inspecting the photographs taken last night. Charlie is warned about people out to get him. They will return to the “Hottentot Club” where all the suspects are present. Chan recreates the events when the murder occurred. After questioning people, Chan reveals the murderer and how he deduced it. A ruse led to an admission by the murderer. Lee acts to save Charlie. When they locate the diary they can clean out the corruption of Broadway.
This mystery involves crime and corruption in New York City in the 1930's. Was it based on some recent scandal? Broadway is an old road that runs from lower Manhattan to the northern end. The reference here is to midtown and it’s entertainment district. Some other cities use the name Broadway for their main road.