An Illustrated Script-based Reconstruction of
Charlie Chan Carries On
Our Script-based Reconstruction for Charlie Chan Carries On is a combination of DIALOGUE TAKEN FROM THE SCREEN (undated) and a FINAL SHOOTING SCRIPT, dated December 23, 1930. Production on Charlie Chan Carries On was completed in late January of 1931, so the “Dialogue” script would date from just after that time.
Sections of the original script did not appear in the finalized picture. There were dialogue changes at points in the script, some minor, some more so, and some dialogue added. Our reconstruction offers, it is believed, a very accurate distillation of how Charlie Chan Carries On originally appeared to moviegoers in March 1931.
CONTINUITY & DIALOGUE BY: PHILIP KLEIN & BARRY CONNORS
CAMERAMAN: GEORGE SCHNEIDERMAN
SOUND: GEORGE P. COSTELLO
ART DIRECTOR: JOE WRIGHT
COSTUMES: SOPHIE WACHNER
FILM EDITOR: AL DE GAETANO
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: SAM WURTZEL
DIRECTOR: HAMILTON MACFADDEN
Warner Oland: CHARLIE CHAN
John Garrick: MARK KENAWAY
Marguerite Churchill: PAMELA POTTER
Warren Hymer: MAX MINCHIN
Marjorie White: SADIE MINCHIN
C. Henry Gordon: JOHN ROSS
William Holden: PATRICK TAIT
George Brent: CAPTAIN RONALD KEANE
Peter Gawthorne: INSPECTOR DUFF
John T. Murray: DR. LOFTON
John Swon: ELMER BENBOW
Goodee Montgomery: MRS. BENBOW
Jason Robards Sr.: WALTER HONYWOOD
Lumsden Hare: INSPECTOR HAYLEY
Zeffie Tilbury: MRS. LUCE
Betty Francisco: SYBIL CONWAY
Harry Beresford: KENT
John Rogers: MARTIN
J. G. Davis: EBEN
FADE IN on the exterior of Scotland Yard.
DISSOLVE TO INTERIOR INSPECTOR HAYLEY’S OFFICEHAYLEY AND OTHERS
HAYLEY: You’ll receive further instructions from the chief at Liverpool.
ONE MAN EXITS.
Phone Hempstead Local. Get me particulars on the York blackmail case.
SECOND MAN EXITS.
DUFF ENTERS, removing his dripping hat and ulster.
HAYLEY: Morning, Duff.
DUFF: Morning, Hayley.
HAYLEY: Glad to see you.
DUFF: Thanks. Want a laugh?
DUFF: I’ve just had a letter from our old Chinese friend, Charlie Chan.
HAYLEY: (Pleased) Where is he now? Still in Honolulu?
DUFF: Yes. He’s Inspector of detectives there, now. Sends me a photograph of what he calls his multitudinous blessings. (Handing photograph to Hayley) Says he’s named his youngest child after me – Duff Chan.
CLOSE SHOT — INSERT — Charlie Chan at the right. Mrs. Chan at the left, and between them ten children, ranging from a boy of eighteen to a baby of two — the three youngest in Chinese dress. All wear happy smiles.
Duff turns photo over. In bold hand-writing is the inscription:
EACH MAN THINKS HIS OWN CUCKOOS BETTER
THAN NEXT MAN’S NIGHTINGALES.
DUFF: Pity he’s wasted in a place like Honolulu, isn’t it?
HAYLEY: Well, it can’t be any worse than here.
Duff restores photograph to his pocket, picks up coat as if to go. Telephone rings.
DUFF: (Into phone) Hello. Yes, InspectorDuff speaking. What? Murdered? What’s his name? Where was he murdered? I’ll come at once. (He hangs up — addresses Hayley) Wealthy American named Hugh Morris Drake murdered at Broome’s Hotel. Better come along.
DISSOLVE TO: CLOSE SHOT of tightly clenched fist. A pair of hands force fingers open, taking from them a piece of platinum chain to which is attached safe-deposit box key.
ON SOUND TRACK throughout action is heard the distracted sobbing of a girl.
CAMERA MOVES BACK, disclosing Duff in Room 28, Broome’s Hotel – the hand and arm of a murdered man, and girl kneeling at foot of bed, head bowed in arms, body convulsed with sobs.
Hayley gently lifts the girl to her feet.
HAYLEY: Please, Miss, you’d better go. This is Inspector Duff of Scotland Yard.
The girl, unresisting, still sobbing, covers face with hands, as they lead her gently away. Almost at door she stops and speaks.
PAM: (Brokenly) He was so good – so kind to everyone. How could anyone do it?
DUFF: I’d like to speak to you later, Miss.
PAM: Very well. (Exits)
HAYLEY: That’s his granddaughter. She was taking the trip around the world with him.
Duff examines key.
DUFF: Number 3260. Dietrich Safe and Lock Company, Canton, Ohio. (Softly) Good old boy, he tried to help us. Tore off the end off his assailant’s watch chain and kept it for us.
HAYLEY: (Nods) Well, that’s something.
Again Duff bends over bed — Hayley watches. He turns, holding, with a handkerchief, a thin, black leather strap.
DUFF: Did you take fingerprints from this strap?
FINGERPRINT EXPERT: Yes sir.
DUFF: Strangled with that. Have you covered this?
FINGERPRINT EXPERT: No sir.
Duff moves to window, looks out, then examines lock carefully — closes window, then opens it again.
He turns from window to a door connecting room 28 and 29. With his handkerchief, he tests knob. It is locked. He stands a moment, puzzled, then turns to Hayley, who enters to him, holding a small chamois bag in his hands.
HAYLEY: (Giving him bag) Found this at the head of the bed.
Duff takes the bag, opens it — pours part of the contents into his hand. It is filled with small round pebbles, which Duff examines closely.
HAYLEY: What do you make of it?
DUFF: (Recapitulating as he pours pebbles back into bag) Harmless old man – very deaf – strangled to death – no evidence of any struggle. (As though thinking aloud) Even the nap of the carpet’s hardly disturbed. (Gazing thoughtfully about him) I believe he wasn’t murdered in this room.
Kent, Manager of Hotel, and Dr. Lofton, enter from hall.
KENT: Pardon me, inspector, Doctor Lofton, conductor of the tour. (Presenting Dr. Lofton) This is Inspector Duff of Scotland Yard.
LOFTON: I’m not precisely a conductor. For fifteen years, I have been managing director of Lofton’s round-the-world tours.
DUFF: (Dryly) Yes? Have you had any trouble with the tour before last night? I mean anything that seemed like enmity?
LOFTON: (Indignantly) Absurd! The members of the party scarcely know one another as yet.
Duff eyes him.
DUFF: Oh, but surely -LOFTON: Oh no no – don’t begin with the idea that some member of the party killed Hugh Drake! That’s impossible. Some sneak thief – some hotel servant, perhaps.
DUFF: Why do you wish me to think that?
LOFTON: (Almost pleading as he lays his hand on Duff’s arm) Inspector, this is a serious situation to me. My reputation – everything is liable to be ruined by this.
DUFF: (Holding out thin black strap with which Drake was murdered) I understand. Have you ever noted this strap around the luggage of any of your guests?
He stops at the surprised look on Lofton’s face.
LOFTON: This is rather odd. I have a strap identically like this on one of my bags.
DUFF: Will you get it, please?
LOFTON: Gladly, Inspector.
DUFF: Have you assembled the members of your party in the drawing room?
LOFTON: Some of them are out, but I’ve gotten most of them together.
DUFF: Thank you, Dr. Lofton.
Duff turns to Kent.
Who occupies that room there? (Pointing to door between rooms)
KENT: A Mr. Honywood, sir – member of this party.
DUFF: Can you open it?
He turns to door and with pass-key unlocks it. He stands aside as Duff goes into Honywood’s room.
CAMERA FOLLOWS WITH DUFF. Room 29 is much smaller than room 28. There is a sense of mustiness about it, the windows being tightly closed.
Duff goes to window, tries to open it, but cannot.
He takes out notebook — glances around room — makes memorandum. He notices half-packed Gladstone bag. As he bends over it —
SOUND OF KEY BEING INSERTED IN LOCK.
Walter Honywood enters room – a dissipated looking man in late thirties.
DUFF: Come in, Mr. Honywood.
An expression of alarm appears on Honywood’s face, at seeing Duff in his room.
You know of, of course, what’s happened.
You heard no cry – no struggle during the night?
HONYWOOD: (Nervously) Nothing. I was sound asleep when the murder was committed.
DUFF: (With lightning rapidity) You know when it occurred, then?
HONYWOOD: Well – no. Of course not – I merely assume I must have been asleep. (Mopping his brow)
DUFF: (Watching him with deep interest) I seem to have heard your name somewhere.
HONYWOOD: I’m a theatrical manager. Perhaps you’ve also heard of my wife, Miss Sybil Conway?
DUFF: (Nods) She’s with you?
HONYWOOD: No. We had an estrangement about two months ago. She’s at San Remo on the Riviera – our tour touches there, and I hope to persuade her to join me.
Honywood takes out cigarette and holds lighter to it. His hand trembles violently, he looks up — sees Duff watching him.
This affair has been a great shock. You see I – I recently had a nervous breakdown.
DUFF: (Ironically) Rather odd, isn’t it, Mr. Honywood, that a man who has just had a nervous breakdown should be such a sound sleeper?
HONYWOOD: (Starts) Why – I’m never troubled that way.
DUFF: Will you wait for me downstairs?
Honywood makes an effort to pull himself together, and exits. Duff re-enters room 28, where fingerprint expert and Hayley are still working.
HAYLEY: No, not yet.
Duff starts from room. At door the excited Lofton almost bumps into him.
LOFTON: (Entering excitedly) Inspector, my strap is gone!
DUFF: Really? (Pointing to the strap on a small table near the door) Then perhaps this is yours?
LOFTON: (Looking closely — then frightened) Well I – yes I – I believe it is.
DUFF: (Noting Lofton’s aggitation) We’ll go into this matter of the strap a little later. Wait for me downstairs.
KENT: (Entering with an old man) This is our night watchman – wishes to make a statement.
EBEN: It’s like this, sir. While I was making me rounds at two o’clock, I saw a gentleman standing in front of room 27. When he heard me he said, “I expect I’m on the wrong floor. My room is below.” And then, on my four o’clock round somebody hits me in the dark and knocks me down. As I fell my torch showed a gray suit. I grabbed at the pocket and heard the cloth tear. Then he hits me again and when I come to, sir, he was gone.
DUFF: (Knits brow) Thank you, Eben. Wait downstairs.
DUFF: Look for a gray coat with a torn pocket, or the other part of this chain.
Members of the party are assembled, including Max and Sadie Minchin.
The lounge is done in red plush and walnut decorations. There are book-cases of dusty volumes — old sporting prints. Outside, the sun has pierced through the fog, and is casting weird light into the room, illuminating the faces of the Lofton party. Max Minchin, who has made himself the center of interest in group, addresses them.
MAX: Well, all I got to say is, if any of you guys here done it, don’t say anything till you see your lawyer.
SADIE: Aw, come on, Maxie, it’s no use nursing a grouch, nobody’s accusing you of anything, Angel Face.
MAX: Aw, patrol your own beat, I ain’t takin’ no info from a skirt!
LOBBY OF BROOME’S HOTEL
Duff and Kent enter to Mr. Tait.
KENT: Mr. Tait – this is Inspector Duff of Scotland Yard. (To Duff) Mr. Tait is a criminal lawyer from New York.
DUFF: How do you do sir.
TAIT: What’s this about a murder?
DUFF: (Knits brow) Step inside, Mr. Tait – you will know all the details in a moment.
Tait turns with Duff and with a firm step crosses the threshold of the lounge. He stands a moment, looking about at group inside, then gives little strangled cry and pitches forward onto floor. Duff is beside him in an instant, turns him over with deep concern — looks at his face. It is as blank as that of the dead man upstairs.
Immediately a young man enters and kneels down beside Tait. He is good-looking, with frank eyes – but his manner is somewhat startled. Removing a small, pearl-like object from a bottle, he crushes it in handkerchief and holds it under Tait’s nose.
MARK KENNAWAY: (To Duff) Amyl nitrate – it’ll bring him round in a second.
DUFF: You’re Mr. Tait’s travelling companion?
MARK: Yes. I’m Mark Kennaway. Mr. Tait is subject to this sort of thing – that’s why he employed me to come with him.
KENT: You may take him into that room.
Tait stirs; starts breathing heavily as he comes to. Duff indicates that they had better get him out of there. Together they carry him into a little coffee room leading from lobby, and place him on a couch.
DUFF: (To Mark) Let me know as soon as he’s fully recovered.
He starts from room as Martin comes in. Duff stops him. Martin is a servant with a rather blank face – much younger than Eben. He is obviously nervous.
DUFF: You’re Martin?
MARTIN: Yes, sir.
DUFF: You discovered Mr. Drake’s body this morning? Tell me about it.
MARTIN: (Nervous – stumbling in speech) I awoke Mr. Drake every morning, sir. He was very deaf and it took a bit of doing – I knocked many times, but there was no answer. Then I notified the management at once. That’s all I can tell you, Inspector.
DUFF: Thank you, Martin.
Duff starts from the coffee room and gets into lounge. He closes door behind him – walks to center of room, addresses those awaiting him.The various members of the group look at him with anxious eyes. Duff turns to CAPTAIN RONALD KEANE, a man of about 38, with a hawk-like nose, well-dressed, and seemingly at ease. At Duff’s look of inquiry, he introduces himself.
KEANE: I am Captain Ronald Keane.
DUFF: Military man?
KEANE: Why yes.
MRS. LUCE: Captain Keane tells me that he was in the British Army and has seen service in India and South Africa.
DUFF: (To Keane) Is that true?
KEANE: (Hesitates) Well no – not precisely – I was just – well – romancing a bit. You see – the title is really honorary. Just put me down as – as – gentleman.
Duff turns to Mrs. Luce.
DUFF: And you?
MRS. LUCE: Retired lady.
She smiles widely and glances at Keane. Duff, getting the shaft, smiles.
DUFF: Just travelling?
MRS. LUCE: My fourth trip around the world.
DUFF: (Looking at list) You occupy number 27.
Mrs. Luce nods.
Did you hear any noise last night in the room where –
MRS. LUCE: No, not last night – but there was a row the night before.
Duff looks at her with interest. Mrs. Luce hesitates a moment, looking at Dr. Lofton.
Perhaps Dr. Lofton could tell you about it himself.
Lofton rises, very ill at ease, as Duff turns to him.
DUFF: What exactly did occur the night before last, Dr. Lofton?
LOFTON: (A bit panicky) I was in Mr. Drake’s room. He objected to some members of the party – their presence upset him. I was merely trying to explain my position.
Duff gives him a long look and makes note. He turns, looks in direction of small alcove. As Duff nods, a tall man in tweed suit, rises. He carries a heavy walking stick, and one leg is held rather stiffly as he limps toward Duff.
DUFF: Your name, sir?
ROSS: My name is John Ross – lumber man from Tacoma, Washington.
DUFF: Do you know anything about this murder?
ROSS: No, not a thing.
DUFF: You knew Mr. Drake, of course?
ROSS: Oh yes. He was a nice old fellow. We got quite well acquainted on board ship. I liked him – liked him a lot.
DUFF: Been out this morning?
ROSS: Yes – for a walk.
DUFF: That will be all. Out for a walk with that limp?
ROSS: Oh yes – as a matter of fact, the doctor’s orders.
Duff makes a memorandum in book as Ross returns to alcove.
Mark Kennaway enters from coffee room.
MARK: Pardon me, Inspector. Mr. Tait has recovered.
Duff nods and turns to occupants of room.
DUFF: You’ll all will wait here a moment, please.
CAMERA FOLLOWS WITH DUFF – as he enters coffee room.
Patrick Tait is sitting erect on couch, a glass of spirits in his hand, which Martin, the waiter, has just served him. As Martin passes Duff, he stops him.
DUFF: Ask Eben the night watchman to step in the lounge – I’ll be there in a moment.
MARTIN: (Mutters) Yes, sir. (Exits quickly)
Duff’s eyes follow him for a moment, then he turns to Tait.
DUFF: Feeling better, Mr. Tait? Mr. Tait what was it you saw in the lounge that brought on this attack? Some face perhaps?
TAIT:I tell you no!
He suddenly catches his left side. Mark steps forward quickly.
MARK: Please, Inspector, this man is ill.
DUFF: I’m sorry – I apologize.
Tait bows acknowledgment.
Nevertheless Mr. Tait, I intend to find out what it was that shocked a retired lawyer into a heart attack.
Duff turns from him and re-enters the lounge.
CAMERA MOVES WITH DUFF – to where Eben, the old night watchman has been studying the faces of the men in the room. First, Lofton, then Ross, then — suddenly he points. Duff has been watching him closely.
EBEN: (Firmly) That’s the man.
He is pointing at Keane, who sits up.
KEANE: What do you mean?
EBEN: I mean you’re the one I met on my two o’clock round last night.
DUFF: Is this true?
KEANE: (Looking rather anxiously about him) Well, yes. I was up there – I couldn’t sleep and I thought I’d borrow a book from Mr. Tait.
DUFF: Pretty old, this wanted-to-read-a-book stuff. Why did you say you’d mistaken the number of your room?
KEANE: (Fumbling about) Well I just said the first thing that came into my head.
DUFF: Rather a habit of yours, isn’t it?
Duff makes memorandum in his book – then dismisses Eben. Suddenly he wheels on Honywood.
Just one thing more, Mr. Honywood.
Honywood starts violently as Duff approaches him. Duff holds out small chamois bag filled with pebbles. He pours a few into his hand for Honywood’s inspection.
Do these mean anything to you?
HONYWOOD: (Shaking his head) I never saw them before in my life.
Duff returns bag and pebbles to pocket. Honywood stops to pick up cigarette he has dropped on carpet.
Duff turns to the Minchins, his eyes lighting with interest.
DUFF: (Looking at list) You are Mr. Minchin?
MAX: What about it?
SADIE: (Angrily) Sugar pie, answer the man’s question.
MAX: Why should I? He’s a dick, ain’t he? I should help him!
DUFF: Just one moment, please, Mr. Minchin – allow me to warn you –
MAX: (Interrupts) Aw I know – anything I might say could be used against me. I’ve heard that one before.
MAX: Oh all right, (To Duff) what do you want to know?
DUFF: Where are you from?
MAX: Chicago – and don’t make any funny cracks about the daily casualty lists.
DUFF: Casualty lists?
MAX: Yeah – that’s what they call the newspapers out there.
DUFF: Oh I won’t annoy you with more questions, Mr. Minchin – we’ve already quite a lot information about you.
Elmer Benbow, short, stout — Germanic ancestry, enters, followed by Mrs. Benbow. He carries a small motion picture camera. Going to Duff he takes his hand — shakes it enthusiastically.
BENBOW: Well – well well – Pleased to meet you, Inspector. Say, this is going to be something to talk about when we get back to Akron. Mixed up in a murder – Scotland Yard and all that! Here, meet the missus!
DUFF: (A trifle coldly) How do you do.
BENBOW: Just been out making some moving pictures. Anything we can do to help you, Inspector?
DUFF: Do you know anything about this murder?
BENBOW: If you mean did we do it, we certainly did not. You know Mr. Drake was an automobile manufacturer and I make tires. Can you imagine a tire manufacturer killing off one of his best customers?
DUFF: (Smiling) Hardly. That will be all at present, thank you. (To others) None of you must leave London without permission of the Yard.
Duff stands at door as the group passes him. He watches them closely. Keane, with his sly face; Honywood, with an assumed nonchalance; Ross, with his frank manner and slight limp; Max Minchin, with his sullen slouch, followed by his be-jeweled wife; smiling Benbow and his mate; then Patrick Tait, now walking with a firm step.
While Duff watches them speculatively, Pamela Potter enters. She still shows evidence of grief, but is calm now, and wears an air of angry determination.
PAM: Oh Mr. Duff, is it true that you think the crime was committed by some member of this party?
DUFF: I regret to say that I do.
PAM: Well, in that case I shall cable my mother and my aunt to come to London and I shall continue with the tour. I might find some clew – someone may let something slip.
DUFF: Quite probably, indeed. I have a Chinese friend who used to say, “Only a very sly man can shoot off a cannon quietly.”
Mark enters. He comes to Pam, stands for a moment before her – slowly offers his hand.
MARK: I haven’t had the opportunity before to tell you how very sorry I am, Miss Potter, and if there’s anything I can do to help you, please tell me.
PAM: (Who has taken his hand) Thank you, Mr. Kennaway.
They leave together — Duff joins Hayley and finger print man in lobby.
HAYLEY: Not a trace of the chain nor the gray coat.
INTERIOR HAYLEY’S OFFICE SCOTLAND YARD
Duff, puffing furiously at his pipe, paces about room. Hayley is seated.
HAYLEY: Well, I suppose this is the end of the case – just another unsolved murder.
DUFF: We couldn’t hold them. The American Ambassador himself asked me – Where was our proof? What was the motive – And the murderer traveling with them – unknown.
Sergeant Burke enters. There is a cheerful excited air about him.
BURKE: We’ve got something, Chief – The man is ready to talk.
DUFF: Bring him in.
Burke, in the open door, motions to someone without. Martin, the waiter from Broome’s Hotel, enters, very frightened. Duff points to a chair.
Sit down there.
Martin does so. Duff, rising, stands over him.
Where did you get all that money you’ve been spending?
MARTIN: I –
DUFF: Now don’t tell me you won it at the races! I want the truth!
He jerks Martin to his feet.
MARTIN: You won’t send me to prison, sir?
DUFF: I give you just one more chance. Where did you get that hundred pounds?
MARTIN: Mr. Honywood gave it to me.
DUFF: What for?
MARTIN: I’ll tell you everything, sir. At ten o’clock that night I went upstairs with a cablegram for Mr. Drake. I knocked at his door and –
DUFF: Then what?
MARTIN: Mr. Honywood opened it.
DUFF: Honywood in Mr. Drake’s room?
MARTIN: Yes, sir. I gave him the envelope. He said, “You’ll find Mr. Drake in my room. We’ve changed rooms for the night.”
Duff gives Hayley a quick glance of exaltation, then to Martin:
DUFF: What then?
MARTIN: I knocked on the door of Mr. Honywood’s room and Mr. Drake opened to the door….took the cablegram and thanked me.
DUFF: And the hundred pounds?
MARTIN: At seven o’clock the next morning Mr. Honywood sent for me and handed me two fifty pound notes and made me promise not to say anything about the exchange of rooms.
DUFF: (Turning to Hayley and pounding his fist in his hand) What did I tell you – Drake wasn’t murdered in his own room. I was right.
DUFF: (His spirits soaring) We’ve got him, my boy! (Looking at his watch) I’ve just time to catch the night boat for Dieppe. And the Riviera express will get me there a day later.
HAYLEY: (Grasps Duff’s hand — shakes it heartily) Good luck and congratulations!
DUFF: (Starting from room) Thanks, old chap.
Same hands opening black leather case. Reel of motion picture film is pulled out, then dropped back.
Man’s gray-gloved hands as they search bureau drawer. Articles are pulled out — perhaps a bit of feminine lingerie — then thrust back into drawer again.
Trunk, hands take letter out of tray. Hands open letter, which reads:
Dear Mrs. Luce,
If anything happens to me, notify my wife,
Sybil Conway, Palace Hotel, San Remo.
Hand crushes letter as if crushing a victim.
Same pair of hands — they fasten lifeless third hand on revolver with fingers engaging trigger. A faint wisp of smoke is issuing from barrel of gun.
LOBBY of lounge of Hotel Excelsior Grande in Nice. Sun shines through windows overlooking terrace garden and Mediterranean.
TOURISTS AND DUFF
Dr. Lofton is with them.
LOFTON: I hardly expected you so soon!
DUFF: Expected me?
LOFTON: Yes. Walter Honywood committed suicide in the grounds of this hotel last night.
Mrs. Luce has joined the group, and overheard Lofton’s last remark.
MRS. LUCE: Suicide, your grandmother! You’re needed here, Inspector! This is another murder!
MRS. LUCE: Absolutely. Mr. Honywood expected something to happen. He tried to leave a letter with me. I suggested Dr. Lofton was the proper person to give it to, but he insisted that Dr. Lofton was decidedly not the proper person.
LOFTON: (Hastily) I telephoned Mrs. Honywood this morning at San Remo. When she heard the news I believe she fainted.
CAMERA FOLLOWS AS THEY MOVE DOWN LOBBY
They pass a group in which are Tait, Mark, Ross and the Benbows. They all appear apprehensive as Duff passes them. As the two men near telephone booth, Duff pauses.
Duff enters booth. As he does so, Sadie and Max Minchin pass booth.
CUT TO THE MINCHINS
MAX: (Looking towards Duff in booth) Gee, another guy put on the spot and the place is swarming with bulls. Don’t it make you homesick?
SADIE: Uh – huh.
INSPECTOR DUFF INSIDE TELEPHONE BOOTH
DUFF: (In phone) It wasn’t suicide, Mrs. Honywood. Your husband was murdered. What? Oh very well. I’ll be at your hotel at six this evening with the Lofton party. Thank you.
He hangs up. As he comes out of booth he almost collides with Lofton.
DUFF: Doctor, you may leave for San Remo at 4:30 as you had planned.
LOFTON: Thank you.
Lofton gives him a curious look as Duff walks away.
PALACE HOTEL, SAN REMO
Sitting room of Sybil Conway.
She is a beautiful woman, attractively gowned.
DUFF: You say the man who killed Honywood is named Jim Everhard?
DUFF: Why did he kill him?
SYBIL: I was married to Jim Everhard but we were unhappy, and I met Walter Honywood and we ran away. Everhard swore he’d kill us both.
DUFF: (Takes out chamois bag with pebbles) Ever seen these before?
SYBIL: No, but I know what they mean. When we ran away, I took two bags of diamonds with us, but they weren’t Everhard’s. He’d stolen them, too.
DUFF: All this in South Africa?
DUFF: Are you sure, Mrs. Honywood, that you’ll be able to recognize Jim Everhard when you see him?
DUFF: Very well. There are some palms just outside the dining room door. You’ll have a clear view of the Lofton party. All you need do is point him out to me. Ready?
They move from the room to hall, which is in semi-darkness. They step to the elevator and enter. It is a narrow cage-like contraption. Duff presses button — slowly they begin to descend.
Suddenly there is a sharp explosion above their heads — Duff gets the fleeting impression of a blurred form above, leaning over shaft. The woman at his side collapses. He is just in time to catch her in his arms. A small object hurtles through the air and lands at his feet.
Duff tries to stop the car but cannot until it stops automatically at first floor. As he pulls the gates open,
DUFF: Pick up that bag for me.
DARKENED HALLWAY — FOURTH FLOOR
Mark Kennaway is rapping at door of a room.
MARK: Mr. Tait! Mr. Tait! Mr. Tait, are you there?
Keane glides up to him.
KEANE: What’s the matter?
MARK: Mr. Tait was here a moment ago. (Catches himself) I was just wondering where he is. Mr. Tait! Mr. Tait!
CUT BACK TO:
Duff places Sybil Conway on a sofa — opposite elevator. Pam and one or two other guests hide the body from view of the camera.
PAM: (To Duff) Shall I send for a doctor?
DUFF: Too late – the woman’s dead.
PLATFORM OF STATION AT SAN REMO
(CONFUSION OF VOICES)
DUFF: Now you won’t forget to write the letters you promised me?
PAM: Certainly not. Will you join us again?
DUFF: Probably. I’m going to America. (Smiles) Meanwhile, if anything important turns up, cable me at Scotland Yard.
PAM: (Eagerly) Oh, I know something will. I feel sure we’ve only to wait.
DUFF: Waiting won’t do – we must work. As my Chinese friend expresses it: “Sitting man must hold mouth open very long time before roast goose flies in.”
(CONFUSION OF VOICES THROUGH SCENE)
CONDUCTOR: (In French) All aboard, if you please. All aboard, if you please. [Tous à bord, s’il vous plaît. Tous à bord, s’il vous plaît.]
MAX: Well, so long, copper.
CONDUCTOR: (In French) All aboard, if you please. [Tous à bord, s’il vous plaît.]
LOFTON: Come on, Benbow. All right, Miss Potter.
CONDUCTOR: (In French) All aboard, if you please. [Tous à bord, s’il vous plaît.]\
Pam laughs and extends her hand.
PAM: Goodbye, Inspector.
DUFF: Goodbye, Miss Potter – take care of yourself.
PAM: Thank you.
CONDUCTOR: (In French) All aboard, if you please. All aboard, if you please. [Tous à bord, s’il vous plaît. Tous à bord, s’il vous plaît.]
Guard blows his whistle and compartment doors are banged shut.
Duff assists Pam into her compartment and closes door after her. Train starts to pull out. Duff stands on platform watching members of party as they look out of windows of their compartments. One by one they pass him — Mark as he leans forward, talking to Pam, Benbow, as he stands at window with motion picture camera grinding final shot, Ross with Malacca stick, head of which he taps against his lips and chin; Captain Keane, with his sly, fox-like expression; Max Minchin and bejeweled wife, Max waving him farewell with a knowing wink; Lofton, pulling at beard nervously; and the last face — Patrick Tait — worried, old before his time — white as death.
As Duff watches the last of party disappear, a puzzled expression comes over his features. In his hand he is holding thin platinum chain and key.
As he twirls around finger —
ON A SERIES OF TRAVEL DISSOLVES
(VOICES HEARD THROUGH SCENES)
Short FLASHES of Egypt, Pyramids.
STREET IN HONGKONG
(GIRL SINGS IN CHINESE – VOICE NOT DISTINGUISHABLE)
Showing Chinese shops, bazaars, members of Dr. Lofton’s party walking about looking in shop windows, etc.
Mark Kennaway, holding sunshade over Mrs. Luce, poses in front of a shop with Mr. Benbow taking motion pictures. Mrs. Benbow, smiling, stands beside him.
BENBOW: (Stops cranking) There – that’ll be all, I guess.
MRS. LUCE: Thank you, Mr. Benbow.
Benbow and wife turn to new scenes. Mrs. Luce smiles at Mark.
Thank you, Mr. Kennaway – sweet of you to devote yourself to an old lady like me, but if I were a young man –
MARK: Now, if you’re going to talk about Miss Potter again, please don’t. The subject irritates me.
MRS. LUCE: (Looking at him with interest) I’m sorry. You were together so much until the last few days, I thought –
MARK: (Irritably) Yes, so does everyone else, but it isn’t so.
MRS. LUCE: (Pretending surprise) What isn’t.
MARK: Well, one can’t even be nice to a rich girl without everyone thinking – Well, possibly she thinks the same. She’s deliberately avoiding me. It’s a bit of a curse to be born as rich as she is. (Starts with surprise — hands her sunshade)
He walks away and enters a jewelry shop.
MRS. LUCE: (Waiting for Pam) I was just talking of you with a very charming young man who doesn’t quite know what’s the matter with him.
PAM: (Somberly) He knows very well what’s the matter with him. He’s proud of it. It’s a sort of disgrace to be the grandchild of a man who had the bad brains enough to make himself a lot of money.
MRS. LUCE: (Smiling) Has it ever occurred to you, my dear, that it may be embarrassing for a self-respecting young man to court a very wealthy girl?
PAM: (As if the idea were quite new to her, pauses, searches Mrs. Luce’s eyes) Do you really suppose that’s what’s the matter with that aristocratic iceberg?
She goes to the shop Mark has entered, but near the door stops and saunters casually in apparently unaware of his presence. Near the door she meets Max and Sadie Minchin engaged in an argument.
Sadie, carrying a paste-board box about the size of a bushel basket, faces with angry glare, the equally angry Max.
SADIE: (Defiantly) Well, anyway, I wanted it and I got it, and I’m going to keep it, so what are you going to do about it, darling?
MAX: Sure, buy a lot of junk you don’t even know what to do with. How how do you think you’re going to carry that stuff all around the world?
PAM: (Anxious to conciliate) What did you get, Mrs. Minchin?
SADIE: (Pleased with herself) A reading lamp.
MAX: (In utter disgust) A reading lamp. The next thing you know, she’ll be wanting to buy a book to go with it.
He walks angrily out of the shop.
SADIE: (Calling after him) We won’t either have to buy a book to go with it – we’ve got a book already! (In French) Oh thank you. [“Mer-ci.”]
She angrily marches out after him.
PAM: (Pretending surprise at seeing Mark) Oh, Mr. Kennaway –
MARK: I’m sorry.
PAM: (Pretending amazement) What about?
MARK: (Embarrassed) I thought perhaps my presence might annoy you.
PAM: We’re going to miss this old war when it’s over, aren’t we?
MARK: You won’t mind, You’ll be having one with someone else. I can’t imagine you without a war.
PAM: (Smiling) Am I really so awful? Let’s declare an armistice. On this party we’re forced to meet one another – now let’s disguize our true feelings and pretend to be friends. Is that agreed?
MARK: (Takes hand – smiles) Agreed.
At this moment, Chinese proprietor of shop approaches with tray of jewelry. Pam is immediately interested, and selects a beautiful string of jade.
PAM: How much is this?
CHINAMAN: Two hundred eighty dollars.
Pam holds it up for Mark’s inspection.
PAM: Aren’t they lovely?
Mark nods, turns away — it is too rich for his pocket. Pam picks up another piece of jewelry. As she does so, another Chinaman enters scene. Suddenly he breaks into an excited string of Chinese –
CHINAMAN: (In Chinese) Wong – there is the diamond merchant from South Africa – (points in direction of street) Jim Everhard.
FROM [PAM’S] ANGLE we see five members of Lofton party as they move past shop. In the group are Keane, Lofton, Tait, Ross and Benbow. Pam turns to Mark excitedly.
PAM: Jim Everhard! That’s the name of the man who killed my grandfather! (To Chinaman) Which one is Jim Everhard?
The Chinaman shrugs; indicates he doesn’t understand. Pam rushes to door, followed by Mark. The party has moved about twenty yards away.
PAM: (Excitedly) Jim Everhard! The Chinaman in that shop just pointed out Jim Everhard to me. I was hoping to catch him before all of you – but I know him.
MARK: I’m sorry you did that – you don’t realize what you’ve done.
Pam turns back to door of the shop to question the Chinaman, but he has disappeared.
She hurries after the group. Mark follows. When she reaches a point about ten yards from them, she calls sharply:
PAM: Jim Everhard!
She waits to see who turns at the name. All five men do. Her trick has failed. But she tries to carry it through – looking from one to the other, she says:
The Chinaman in that shop pointed out Jim Everhard – I was hoping to catch him before all of you, but I know him.
They walk away, leaving the five men staring at one another.
Mark and Pam hurrying down the street.
MARK: I’m sorry you did that – you don’t realize what you’ve done.
MARK: Jim Everhard is in that group – he thinks you know him, but you don’t – you’ve put yourself in danger – we don’t know whom to watch and you’re liable to be the next.
PAM: (As the deadly possibility dawns upon her) Where’s the telegraph office?
MARK: There we are.
As they start off –
INTERIOR CABLE OFFICE NEARBY –
Pam takes cable blank, stands at a high desk directly in front of a stand lamp, and starts to write a cable.
Mark stands beside her. As he glances around, he sees a gloved hand holding a pistol around the jamb of the side door, the barrel aimed straight at Pam.
Mark – swiftly seizing Pam and whirling her out of range, just as the weapon is discharged shattering the lamp, before which Pam was standing.
Frightened, Mark holds her a moment, then releases her and runs to the door – looking up and down the street. He sees no one who might have made the attempt. He then turns back to her with a blank, worried face.
She seems so frightened that Mark runs to her and takes her in his arms protectingly, as we –
(VOICES HEARD SINGLING ALOHA, FAINTLY – WORDS NOT DISTINGUISHABLE)
CHAN’S OFFICE POLICE STATION, HONOLULU.
Chan is seated at a table — before him is Duff’s brief case and papers. Duff is pacing the room, smoking his pipe.
DUFF: I was on my way to Tacoma – I changed my plans – flew to San Francisco and took the first boat. I’m glad I arrived before anything happened to her.
CHAN: (Leans across the table) When she shouted name Jim Everhard at Hongkong – no man looked around quick?
DUFF: No. She tried to trick him and failed. Strange situation, that the man who committed that murder has the nerve to stay with the party.CHAN: Only very brave mouse make nest in cat’s ear.
DUFF: (Looks at his watch) This visit will remain a pleasant memory, Charlie. The Lofton party sails at ten. I must call a taxi.
CHAN: (Rising) Oh, not to be considered. I will take you.
CHAN: I have brand new second-hand 1919 Model Y. That’s what everyone ask me – why. (Goes to door of room) I will get. (He exits)
Duff bends over the table and returns his papers to brief case. As he does so, a gloved hand holding a revolver is seen outlined against an open window overlooking back alley of police station. The gun is aimed directly at Duff, and is fired. Duff whirls, staggers a step or two in direction of window and lunges forward to floor. An instant later a small object is thrown through the window, lands on floor beside Duff’s body.
Chan opens door of office, sees Duff lying on the floor, gives a startled exclamation – runs forward and bends over him.
Duff’s face is pale as death. Quickly Chan feels pulse, then reaches up and presses button on desk. Again he bends over the prostrate figure of his friend.
At Duff’s side, Chan’s eyes come to rest on a replica of the three little Chinese monkeys. He picks them up, and as he looks at them, their significance as a threat dawns upon him. He puts them in his pocket.
Chan looks helplessly about, then his eyes take in the window and the misty darkness outside. On the table is Duff’s open brief case. Some of the papers are still in the case, others are strewn about carelessly, scattered by the wind.
Chan quickly restores papers to case. As he does so, the Chief enters.
CHIEF: What’s this, Charlie?
His eyes light on the prostrate figure of Duff.
CHAN: Shot in back from bullet entering from there. (Points to open window) Poor Inspector Duff. He came to quiet city of Honolulu in search of murderer – now this. (Indicating himself) I am laughing stock of world – very well, then – I shall sail tonight on steamship Prescot.
Chan starts strapping up Duff’s brief case.
CHIEF: Oh, but Charlie, you can’t do that –
CHAN: (Interrupting) Please omit the argument – otherwise, resignation effective at once. No time to lose.
(Grabbing phone – giving number) Two Blue 186 – hello – this you, Henry? Honorable father speaking. I sail half-hour on steamship Prescot. Kindly omit surprised feelings – pack bag with amazing speed – tooth-brush – other suit – razor. Bring bag with honorable mother to dock. Thank you so much. (Hangs up receiver)
Chan kneels beside Duff who stirs slightly.
DUFF: (Whispering faintly) Charlie!
CHAN: Inspector. Tell me. Inspector, did you see face of assailant?
DUFF: (Half unconscious) Lofton — Tait — Keane — Ross — Benbow —
There is an expression of increasing amazement on Chan’s face, then Duff continues:
Which one is it, Charlie?
He relapses into unconsciousness.
CHAN: Take best care – get to hospital – send me wireless. If he wakes, tell him Charlie Chan carries on.
As Chan starts from office with Duff’s brief case under his arm –
EXTERIOR AT DOCK
Mrs. Chan and Henry enter to him.
The boat is just about to sail; steward beats warning gong.
MRS. CHAN: (Looking at her husband with timid eyes) Where you go now, please?
CHAN: (Giving her a kindly pat on back) Events explode suddenly like firecrackers in the face of innocent passerby. Do not worry.
He kisses her in Occidental fashion, then turns to Henry.
In my absence you will show honorable mother every deference and guard family well.
HENRY: Okay. And say, Pop, can I use your bus until you come back?
CHAN: (Nodding) I foresaw this request – but please treat bus with unusual kindness.
(CONFUSION OF VOICES HEARD)
VOICES: Goodbye – goodbye.
The deep whistle of the boat is heard. Chan turns toward gangplank and starts up. He waves to his family.
Chan and the Captain are walking along the deck the same night. The ship is on its way to San Francisco.
CAPTAIN: I have sent word to the party to meet you in the smoking room. I’m back of you, Charlie – I hope you get your man.
CHAN: Thank you so much.CAPTAIN: Oh that’s all right.
He bows and leaves.
INTERIOR SMOKING ROOM
The men of the Lofton party are assembled. There is an atmosphere of sullen resentment.
CHAN: (Enters and bows, smilingly) May I extend courteous greeting. You are surprised to find me here. I also. All mischief begins with opening of mouth. Knowing same, so sorry, but must ask questions.
TAIT: Allow me, sir, to point out that we are no longer under the jurisdiction of the Honolulu authorities.
CHAN: Oh, of course, if anyone has something to hide –
TAIT: Oh no no no no – I will not allow you to maneuver me into that position. Now why do you imagine I have something to hide?
CHAN: (Smiles and shrugs) Man seldom scratches where he does not itch.
LOFTON: I don’t blame Mr. Tait – from the very first we’ve been annoyed by questions by incompetent police officials.
CHAN: (Bows) Stupidity humbly acknowledged – but sometime dull stone make very sharp knife.
ROSS: Perhaps, Mr. Chan, it would be advisable to postpone the cross-examination until your suspects are in better humor.
CHAN: Possibly you are right. Time does not press and talk will not cook rice.
He dismisses them with a polite gesture.
Thank you so much.
All turn to leave except Minchin.
MAX: You seen what happened to Inspector Duff, didn’t you?
You better get yourself some iron underwear – you know, B.V.D’s –
CHAN: Oh, I see. B.V.D. – before very dead. Thank you so much.
He bows pleasantly, and as Chan walks from the smoking room —
Chan, in the interior of his promenade deck cabin, in the act of opening Inspector Duff’s brief case.
From the case he takes a small chamois bag and the platinum chain to which is attached the safe-deposit box key.
He places the brief case on top of a dresser directly under the window, and moves under the light to better examine the chain and key. He places this in his pocket, then opens the bag and pours the small pebbles from the bag into the palm of his hand.
Chan looks up suddenly, and in the mirror of his dressing table, he sees the reflection of the window through which appears a hand — the same hand that searched in the trunks in Nice, and placed the revolver in the lifeless hand of Honywood. The hand is reaching for the brief case. It has the case in its grasp when suddenly Chan wheels and jumps for the porthole. He is just in time to wrench the case from the intruder’s grasp, and tears the glove from it at the same time. He throws the case down quickly, then jumps up to the window and looks out onto the dimly lighted deck. About thirty yards away he sees a man leaning over the rail. The man’s back is toward him, but as he turns his head, Chan sees it is Dr. Lofton.
He studies Lofton a moment, then returns to the light and very carefully examines the glove.
He is startled by a sharp, insistent knock on his door.
PAM’S VOICE: Mr. Chan!
He goes to it, opens it, and discovers the frightened Pam.
CHAN: You’re frightened. Come in. Did you see man on deck just now?
Pam enters and closes the door after her.
PAM: No, but some person has been in my stateroom.
CHAN: How you know?
PAM: I was out of it for a moment and when I came back I found this on my dresser.
She shows him a little cardboard box with a cover over it.
I thought perhaps Mrs. Luce had given me a present – but she knows nothing about it. That’s why I came to you.
Chan takes the box from her, removes the lid and holds up the famous three Chinese monkeys with their paws respectively over their eyes, ears and mouth.
CHAN: It is a warning – (Looking at monkeys) “Hear nothing, see nothing, say nothing.” (Chan exits)
Chan is shown on deck in the morning sunshine.
The wireless operator comes to him and hands him a paper.
OPERATOR: Here’s a wireless for you, Mr. Chan, from Honolulu.
CHAN: (An expression of worry crossing his face) From Honolulu? (Opening envelope and reading with staring eyes — expression of pleasure comes over his face) From friend in hospital. Thank you, so much.
OPERATOR: Yes, sir.
He turns and hurries along deck where Pam and Mark are playing shuffle-board.
PAM: (To Mark, teasingly) Well, at least you might pretend that I don’t annoy you. (She sees Chan) Mr. Chan – any news?
CHAN: Wireless say operation successful. Honorable Duff doing very well.
VOICE: All right – come along.
Chan in stateroom, as he searches rapidly in the baggage and bureau drawers.
At last, from under the mattress of the berth, he finds a gray glove, mate to the one he tore from the hand that came through his window on the previous night. He has just stopped to examine it, when the door is suddenly pushed open, and Lofton confronts him.
LOFTON: I won’t submit to this sort of thing! What are you doing in my cabin?
CHAN: Only trying to seize truth with fumbling hands. Will you kindly explain this interesting exhibit? Is it – your glove?
He holds out glove to Lofton.
LOFTON: Certainly not. What do you hope to accomplish by this trick? Do you think for a moment you can frighten me into confessing something?
CHAN: I am only trying to find the man who committed these crimes – and punish him. (He looks keenly at Lofton) He who feeds chicken deserves egg.
Thank you so much.
As he exits from cabin —
Chan on deck, under the dim deck lights. He stands partly concealed, watching the door of a stateroom. His figure retreats from view as the door is stealthily opened. Keane emerges, looks carefully forward and aft on the deck, then carrying a small bundle, steals quietly towards the rail and near where Chan is concealed.
He is about to throw the bundle overboard, when Chan, with a leap, restrains him. The effect upon Keane is devastating.
Chan unrolls the bundle — it is a gray coat with the right-hand pocket torn.
KEANE: What do you want?
CHAN: This! Gray coat with torn pocket. You should have disposed of this long ago. Watchman in Broome’s Hotel, London, tore right-hand pocket of gray coat –
KEANE: I know he did. It came out at the inquest – that’s why I tried to get rid of
this – (Eagerly) why somebody just tore the pocket of that coat.
KEANE: Somebody’s trying to put suspicion on me. Why, if that were the coat, do you think I would have kept it? Do you think I’m a fool?
CHAN: (Shrugs) Who shall say? Every man must wear out at least one pair of fool’s shoes.
He smiles blandly and makes a little bow.
Thank you so much.
The apparently terrified Keane watches Chan with staring eyes as he bows himself away, carrying the coat.
EXTERIOR TAIT’S CABIN
Chan knocks on the door and enters. He finds Mark busy with his tie.
On the dressing table is a neat little silver frame, enclosing Pam’s photograph.
MARK: Oh, come in, Mr. Chan. (Adjusting tie) I was just getting ready to go out and give the ladies a treat.
Chan’s eyes smilingly rest upon the photograph of Pamela.
CHAN: May I wish luck? MARK: Thank you. CHAN: Good wife best household furniture.
MARK: If you mean Miss Potter – there isn’t a chance.CHAN: No?
MARK: There’s something I want to show you.
Mark opens dresser drawer – takes out two sets of Chinese monkeys, shows them to Chan.
MARK: Miss Pamela told me you found one of these beside Inspector Duff and that another was put in her stateroom as a warning.
CHAN: Where did Mr. Tait buy these?
MARK: That’s what I can’t understand. He says he didn’t buy them and has no idea how they got into this cabin. What do you make of it?
CHAN: Very strange. But wait –
Chan drops to his knees, and drags from beneath Mark’s berth a suitcase on which is pasted a label from the Great Eastern Hotel in Calcutta. Near the label are the initials “M.K.” He points to label.
Mark bends down and rubs his hand over the label. He frowns.
MARK: Feels like a key.
CHAN: It is a key – duplicate of one found in hand of murdered man in London.
He takes the duplicate key with the platinum chain attached from his pocket, and shows it to Mark, who stares in surprise.
MARK: Who put that on my bag?
He looks around cabin for a moment, then his eyes rest on a pair of pajamas on the berth occupied by Tait. He continues:
Do you think – can it be possible that – Mr. Tait – why don’t you ask him to explain?
CHAN: Not yet. Man should never hurry except when going to catch a flea. (Pointing to key) Keep open eye on this. Let me know moment it is gone.
MARK: I will, Mr. Chan.
CHAN: Thank you – so much. (He exits)
INTERIOR MINCHIN CABIN
MAX: I want to tell you, Charlie, this thing burns me up – somebody went through our cabin like a Kansas cyclone.
CHAN: You make collection of these labels?
MAX: Yeah – to take back home to little Maxie. You see, I sold him the idea that they’d be just as good as making the trip. He wanted to come along with us – but I said education comes first.
CHAN: Did you say only one of these missing?
MAX: Yeah – but the smallest one of the bunch – from the Hotel Des Indie in Java.
CHAN: Nothing else of value taken?
MAX: No – that’s the funny angle – and with all Sadie’s sparklers lying around loose too. You know, in the old days I’d put a pineapple in his soup – because when a guy doublecrosses me I recross him.
CHAN: Humbly suggest best place for valuables in ship safe.
MAX: I guess you’re right, Charlie.
CHAN: You know, careless shepherd make excellent dinner for wolf.
MAX: Yeah – I’ve been hungry lots of times myself.
EXTERIOR ON DECK
PAM: Oh Mr. Chan, I’ve been looking for you.
CHAN: (As he approaches her) You have found something?
PAM: I don’t know if it’s important or not but have you that little – those little bags of pebbles?
CHAN: (Takes bags from pocket) These?
PAM: (Takes one of them – looks at it carefully) Yes they are the same. I was in Mrs. Benbow’s cabin today, and she had one exactly like these.
CHAN: It may be important. Are you sure?
PAM: I’m certain. It’s even the same color draw-strings – she used it –
CHAN: Does she know you saw her?
PAM: Yes. When she saw me looking at them, she quickly put them away. Do you suppose that Mrs. Benbow could possibly be –
Suddenly, Chan looks up, as a slight noise above attracts his attention. Then swiftly he seizes Pam and whirls her out of the way. As he does so, a long knife flashes down, and stands quivering in the deck at their feet.
Chan swiftly but guardedly runs up the stairs along the deck to the other side. He sees a limping man making a hurried escape, a cane held in his left hand, and tapping sharply on the deck. The man hastily descends stairs to lower deck.
Hurriedly, Chan descends the stairs and runs swiftly around the deck to intercept the man. At the corner of the companionway, he encounters Ross, walking leisurely along – smoking a cigar. His attitude and expression cause Ross to speak.
ROSS: (Calmly and pleasantly) What’s the matter, Mr. Chan?
CHAN: (Still showing amazement)I thought – Were you on upper deck a moment ago?
ROSS: Why no. I just came from my cabin.
CHAN: Oh, thank you so much.
Chan is seated in corner of salon, very downcast in appearance.
FOG HORN BLOWS.
MAX: (Entering) Hello, Inspector!
CHAN: (Listlessly) Hello.
MAX: Looks like we’re going to have more fog, huh?
CHAN: (Uninterested) Yes.
MAX: Well, we’ll be in Frisco in a couple of hours. Have you nailed your man yet?
CHAN: Nailed? No – Guess I’m trying to hunt rabbit with blind dog.
MAX: Say, that reminds me – Hello, kid. The wife and I are putting on a swell dinner tonight, you know, to celebrate the end of the tour – and we’d like you to join us.
CHAN: (Listlessly) Thank you so much.MAX: Okay, I’ll tell her.
Max exits. Chan resumes his gloomy retrospection. Pam enters to him.
PAM: Well, Mr. Chan, we’re almost there.
CHAN: (Unhappily) Sorry – yes.
PAM: And nothing yet?
CHAN: Suspicion – yes. Proof – no. I have no evidence which would let me hold anyone in San Francisco. I imagine I am very clever man – now find slight mistake.
He touches his forehead with his finger as he says lugubriously —
Big head is only good place for very large headache. (Turns and smiles at Pam) And how is case of irritating young man?
PAM: (Smiling) Oh, there’s still hope – he’s just asked me to meet him up on deck.
CHAN: (Pleasantly) Opportunity knocks on door again – and – what if young man proposes?
PAM: (Eagerly) Do you think he will?
CHAN: In what way should I know?
PAM: I wish he would.
CHAN: And then what?
PAM: I’d refuse – for the sake of my wounded pride. Goodbye. (She exits)
Chan continues his unhappy staring into space. His shoulders slump – he resumes his seat.
Suddenly a startled expression flashes across his face. He rises to his feet and utters several startled sentences in Chinese. The next moment he patters out of scene as we –
Chan, entering his stateroom. He goes to a little desk – takes out envelopes, paper – seizes pen and starts to write.
DEAR MR. LOFTON:
TO SAVE EMBARRASSMENT I
WILL SAY NOTHING TO ANYONE AND WILL
NOT MAKE ARREST UNTIL SHIP DOCKS.
He folds the letter, seals and addresses it to Dr. Lofton – then quickly starts another letter with identically the same words, addressed to Mr. Benbow. As he completes this –
Chan, sealing a fifth envelope – showing five addresses to Mr. Tait, Dr. Lofton, Keane, Ross and Benbow.
It is misty, and the fog horn is blowing at intervals. Mark and Pam stand together near the rail.
PAM: Are you glad the trip’s over?
MARK: Well, if I don’t see you again – in case I don’t –
THE FOG HORN BLOWS AGAIN
– I just want to tell you that it’s been fun knowing you. You’re awfully nice, you know. I don’t know what I’d have done if I hadn’t met you but I suppose you’ll marry some nice boy and be happy. I say I suppose you’ll marry some nice boy and be very happy.
FOG HORN BLOWS
Mark tries to talk through shriek of horn, shouting indistinct words. Pam, with an ear cocked toward him, tries to hear what he says.
PAM: I can’t hear a word.
MARK: I say I suppose you’ll marry some nice boy and be very happy.
Suddenly, the sound of the horn ceases.
PAM: Of course I will, if you really want me to. Well, isn’t that what you just asked me?
MARK: (Surprised) No – no – I was just saying I supposed you’d marry some nice boy and be very happy.
PAM: Oh – I’m sorry.
MARK: (Suddenly) Yes, but if I do ask you – will you promise me you’ll say yes again?
PAM: If I promise to say yes again, will you promise to ask me again?
Mark impulsively crushes her in his arms and kisses her.
FOG HORN BLOWS
CHAN: (Coughing discreetly, and smiling widely) May I interrupt bitter quarrel?
They separate –
PAM: Oh, it isn’t exactly a quarrel anymore.
CHAN: (To Mark) May I ask great favor?
MARK: Why certainly. What is it?
CHAN: When I leave Mr. Minchin’s dinner, come quickly after me, please. I need help very much.
MARK: Of course, Mr. Chan.
CHAN: Thank you so much. (He exits)
Pam and Mark immediately resume their embrace —
The Minchin dinner has reached the stage of demi-tasse and cigarettes.
The table is lavishly decorated – Max doing the thing properly, even providing comic paper hats for the guests.
At the table are the Benbows, Dr. Lofton, Ross, Tate, Keane, Mark, Pam, Mrs. Luce — the Minchins.
AS WE DISSOLVE IN –
We hear the buzz of conversation – the clink of glasses.
MAX: What about Chinese friend? I invited him.
PAM: I think he’ll be here – he said he would.
MAX: Well then how about a few choice words from Mr. Keane?
As Keane rises –
Chan, crouching in corridor slipping one of the addressed envelopes under a door.
He hurries to another door across the corridor and slips the remaining envelope under that door.
Chan descends staircase, pausing to listen as Ross is just concluding his speech:
ROSS: And in conclusion, I admit that the murder of Mr. Drake in that stuffy room in London, was a mysterious occurrence.
(Chan enters in time to overhear – and quietly slips into his seat at the table)
But to me, it is stranger still to realize that at this moment the man is dining with us – who has committed three murders and attempted a fourth and a man who is listening to us – and who will within the hour will leave this ship still free – still unidentified and still unpunished. (He pauses) Now I really think that we should hear from our generous host, Mr. Minchin.
There is applause as Max rises.
MAX: Well, I ain’t much on spieling, but seeing as how this matter was brung up I think with all this shooting going on and all these guys getting bumped off, me and the wife figure as how we might as well stayed home. (He pauses) And now I think we ought to have a few wisecracks from our pal, the Chinese dick.
TAIT: (Sarcastically) Perhaps Mr. Chan can tell us why he failed to get his man.
CHAN: Ladies and gentlemen, man who fights law always loses – same as grasshopper is always wrong in argument with chicken. It is only once in a very great time that man bites own nose, but happy to say, murderer has already done so. You have all asked questions. Perhaps I can now entertain with few explanations. (Pausing, glancing around at members of party) Mr. Drake was murdered in London by mistake. How? Murderer entered wrong room. He intended to kill Mr. Honywood. Why? Because Mr. Honywood run away with his wife, and when pair went, they stole two bags of diamonds. (Holding out the two bags of pebbles) These were to remind them of what they had done. (He pauses a moment) Murderer’s name was – Jim Everhard – formerly illicit diamond buyer, South Africa. I have informed him that to save embarrassment, I will not mention his present name and will not make arrest until ship docks at San Francisco. Thank you – so much.
There is a general look of consternation among the diners, then one after another they turn to look at each other, each wondering which is the murderer. Chan, without any formality, bows and quickly exits. Almost immediately, Mark rises, speaks a word to Pam and follows.
MRS. LUCE: Well, sitting here in the company of a person who did these things gives me the creeps. I’m going to my cabin.
There is a general breaking up of the dinner. Diners rise and start crowding round Max and Sadie, as we
SHIP’S ANCHOR CHAIN AND
anchor as it rattles through the hawser and plunges into the dark waters of San Francisco Bay.
A SMALL LAUNCH
which comes alongside. The health inspectors clamber up a rope ladder which has been thrown over the side.
INTERIOR TAIT’S CABIN –
Mark is in scene. Chan has just pulled out Mark’s bag, and is showing the label to Mark.
IN A CLOSE SHOT
We see that it has been cut out, and key removed.
CHAN: Just as I thought – key is gone.
MARK: Where is it?
CHAN: Where I want it now – on person of murderer.
Mark looks over at Tait’s berth, where his hand luggage is neatly piled.
MARK: Mr. Tait. Pamela!
They are startled by the piercing shriek of a woman, followed by two more in quick succession.
VOICE: Man overboard!
MARK: Too late – there’s your man. He’s gone.
As the two start out of cabin door on deck, loud yells are heard.
(CONFUSION OF VOICES)
They run to the rail where the spotlight of launch is now playing on water over the ship’s side.
Three or four life-preservers, with ropes attached to them, have been thrown. In the center of these, badly frightened, is a man.
VOICE: Oh I see him!
A man in the launch hauls the figure over to the side to safety.
MARK: (Leaning over the rail as he discovers it is Benbow) Is that your man, Mr. Chan?
CHAN: No. Come quickly, please.
They exit down the deck.
FLASH of Mrs. Benbow, as she tearfully explains to a small group of passengers:
MRS. BENBOW: All the way around the world I’ve been telling that idiot not to sit on that rail!
STATEROOM OF DR. LOFTON
As he enters, stoops, and picks up letter addressed to him. He opens it – as he reads, an expression of startled amazement comes over his face. He sits, staring straight ahead, with the expression of a man desperately worried.
KEANE IN HIS STATEROOM
He is holding a similar letter in his hand. An expression of terror comes over his face, he stares ahead, as if paralyzed with fear.
ROSS IN HIS STATEROOM
We see him reading the letter. He sinks on the side of his berth, with an expression of incredulous astonishment on his face. He stares wide-eyed into space.
FLASH OF TAIT IN HIS STATEROOM
As he stoops to pick up the envelope on the floor of his cabin. He tears it open, reads it, crumples it in his hand with a snarl, and then stands, a picture of fury.CUT TO:
INTERIOR CHAN’S CABIN
Chan is showing Mark a dummy silhouette which he has rigged up at his window, where the silken shades are drawn tight. It consists of a broom, a coat hanger with Chan’s coat hung on it, a heavy Turkish towel – surmounted by Chan’s hat.
Chan picks up a long light cord, with a button switch at one end – a double socket at the other. He screws socket with the lamp into the electric light fixture, and then with the switch tests it, flashing light on and off. Next, he takes the long cord, opens the door of his cabin, looks up and down the deck, which is in misty darkness, beckons Mark to follow him, closes the door.
He starts to lay the cord across the deck in direction of a lifeboat, immediately opposite his cabin. Chan and Mark clamber into the lifeboat.
We see his cabin suddenly lighted up, and clearly defined against the silk curtain, is the silhouette of Chan. Chan presses the button and the light in the cabin is extinguished, leaving it in darkness.
Suddenly, along the misty deck, a stealthy sound is heard. As Chan catches sight of a tall figure, he snaps on the light of the cabin, showing the silhouette.
The figure glides up to the window — HIS BACK TO CAMERA – we see a heavy gun raised, aimed at the center of the silhouette of Chan – and a shot is fired.
Instantly, into the scene, leap Chan and Mark, pinioning the figure from behind. Chan wrests the gun from the man, holding his arms behind him, while Mark quickly opens door of cabin. They force the man into the room just as the Captain and two of the crew race up to the door.
CHAN: Get him – get him!
MARK: I’ve got him!
CAPTAIN: Turn on the lights.
In the light of the cabin, they turn the man around. WE SEE THAT IT IS — ROSS.
Ross stands for an instant, with a wild, menacing glare in his eyes. Then, suddenly he makes a leap – as if to escape. He is seized by all, and is held until Chan places the handcuffs on his wrists.
CHAN: Lift him up, please. (Takes coat from hanger – points to hole in back – says sorrowfully) Too bad. My best suit, Mr. Everhard.
MAX: Everhard? I thought your name was Ross.
CHAN: No – Jim Everhard, formerly of South Africa. (He takes the figure of the three monkeys from his pocket) Your warning, Mr. Everhard.
MARK: What about the key, Mr. Chan?
CHAN: Oh, thank you, so much.
He takes from his pocket, the safe-deposit key on the platinum chain, and shows it to Ross.
Kindly search him for duplicate of this, found in hand of murdered man in London.
ROSS: (With a slight shrug) Never mind – it’s in my right-hand vest pocket.
Mark takes it out.
Well now, you’ve got me. I was sorry for Mr. Drake in London, but not sorry for those two – they had it coming to them and they got it. Will you tell me something?
CHAN: If I can.
ROSS: I must have slipped up. How did you know me?
CHAN: (With a bland smile) I did not know – until just now. Oh, I write everybody same letter. But you were only one who came to shoot my best suit.
ROSS: (Amazed) You weren’t? Then what about the letter you wrote me?
CHAN: Oh, I wrote everybody the same letter. But you are only one who came here to shoot my best suit.
MAX: Oh, put it there, Charlie, for my sake I hope you never come to Chicago.
CAPTAIN: What do you want to do with him?
CHAN: Oh, please take charge until I come back.
MAX: You know, Ross, I think you’d be too smart to be caught by a Chinese dick.
As Chan starts from cabin,
DOOR OF WIRELESS ROOM –
Chan dictating to operator. Beside him, arm in arm, are Mark and Pam.
CHAN: (Dictating to operator) Honorable Inspector Duff, kindly fate has sprinkled your contemptible substitute with a shower of good fortune. Ross is under arrest.
He turns and smiles at Mark and Pam.
CHAN: I am sending wireless to Inspector Duff – shall I tell him about you?
PAM: Yes, do.
MARK: Why yes.
He puts his arm around Pam’s waist, as she smiles up at him.
CHAN: Miss Potter and Mr. Kennaway have decided that two shall be one. More later.
PAM: Oh, Mr. Chan!