Charlie Chan in Murder Over New York (1940)

     Murder Over New York (1940) is one of the later editions of the Charlie Chan series for Twentieth-Century Fox Productions.  In this film, Inspector Chan is assisting his old friend from Scotland Yard, Inspector Drake, find a group of saboteurs.  The spies intend to sabotage some test air craft in New York.

     Inspector Drake is tracing Paul Narvo, who leads the saboteurs and has altered his appearance.  Drake has been tracing Narvo through his estranged wife, played by Marjorie Weaver.  Inspector Drake is killed in the office of George Kirby, played by Ricardo Cortez.  Mr. Kirby is responsible for the test aircraft that the saboteurs want to destroy.  Inspector Drake’s briefcase containing Narvo’s fingerprints is also missing.


Sidney Toler as Charlie Chan from the Public Domain

     Inspector Chan must identify Narvo before he can carry out his act of sabotage.  Charlie must find Mrs. Narvo and the briefcase to get the fingerprints to identify Narvo.  Narvo could be an English businessman, a chemist, stock broker or inventor.  Inspector Chan is again aided in his investigations by No. 2 Son Jimmy, played by Victor Sen Yung.

     A memorable quote from Inspector Chan to Jimmy occurs when he directs Jimmy to get some sleep.  Jimmy wants to accompany his father on a visit.  Inspector Chan tells Jimmy, “Fresh weed better than wilted rose.  Will need alert brain tomorrow.”

    Robert Lowery played the chemist David Elliott in this film.   He also played supporting roles in Charlie Chan in Reno (1939) and Charlie Chan’s Murder Cruise (1940),  He is most famous as Batman from two 1940s serials about the Caped Crusader.

     According to Wikipedia, Robert Lowery was born Robert Hardin Hanks in Kansas City, MO on October 17, 1913.  Lowery grew up in comfortable circumstances as his father was a lawyer and oil investor.  Lower began acting after a stint as a minor league baseball player.  He would play in 70 films.

     Robert Lowery was married and divorced three times.  He had one son from his marriage to Jean Parker.  Lowery played roles on television until the late 1960s.  He died from a fatal heart attack on December 26, 1971 at the age of 58.

     This film runs approximately 65 minutes.  The series appears to have begun the transition to “B” film status with this film.  While the production quality was still high, the shorter film and more predictable plot indicate Twentieth-Century Fox saw the series in decline.

      Do you think this film is more of a “B” film?  Why do you think so?  Enjoy the film.  You can leave a comment or ask a question about this or any post on my Facebook pageTwitter profile and Google+ page.

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