An Illustrated Script-based Reconstruction of Charlie Chan’s Greatest Case
Our Script-based Reconstruction for Charlie Chan’s Greatest Case, a combining of DIALOGUE TAKEN FROM THE SCREEN (August 29, 1933) and a REVISED FINAL SHOOTING SCRIPT, dated July 7, 1933.
Significant sections of the original production script did not appear in the finalized picture. As great care was taken in combining the two scripts, the reader can be assured that we now have a quite accurate version that is a realistic reflection of the original, completed film, Charlie Chan’s Greatest Case.
PRODUCER: SOL M. WURTZEL
DIRECTOR: HAMILTON MACFADDEN
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: PERCY IKERD
SCREENPLAY: LESTER COLE & MARION ORTH
PHOTOGRAPHY: ERNEST PALMER
SETTINGS: DUNCAN CRAMER
EDITOR: ALEX TROFFEY
MUSICAL DIRECTION: SAMUEL KAYLIN
SOUND: GEORGE LEVERETT
Charlie Chan: WARNER OLAND
Carlotta Eagan: HEATHER ANGEL
John Quincy Winterslip: JOHN WARBURTON
Harry Jennison: WALTER BYRON
T.M. Brade: IVAN SIMPSON
Barbara Winterslip: VIRGINIA CHERRILL
Captain Hallett: FRANCES FORD
Dan Winterslip: ROBERT WARWICK
Amos Winterslip: FRANK MCGLYNN
Minerva Winterslip: CLARA BLANDICK
Captain Arthur Temple Cope: CLAUDE KING
James Eagan: WILLIAM STACK
The beachcomber: ROGER IMHOFF
Arlene Compton: GLORIA ROY
Steve Leatherbee: CORNELIUS KEEFE
Opening titles. One or two atmospheric shots of Honolulu, the Royal Hawaiian, boys on their surf boards, the beach.
THE HOME OF DAN WINTERSLIP
CLOSE SHOT ON A DRAWN VENETIAN BLIND on the outside of a veranda. Behind this blind we hear the voice of a man raised angrily.
DISSOLVE THROUGH BLIND INTO:
INTERIOR DAN’S VERANDA
It is luxuriously furnished in attractive wicker furnishings and looks as if it were the general living quarters of the household. On a table is a framed photograph of Dan’s younger daughter, Barbara. Discovered are Dan and Amos Winterslip, both men are in their early fifties, both dressed in white linen. Amos of stiff sanctimonious appearance, Dan just the opposite. Amos holds a newspaper and shakes it in Dan’s face.
AMOS: I’ve lived through thirty years of watching you besmirch the name of Winterslip with sinful deeds, but this is more than I’ll put up with.
DAN: (Lightly) Have a drink, Amos.
AMOS: When such disgraceful actions become the property of scandal columns, it’s time something was done about it.
Amos indicates a particular item in the newspaper which has aroused his indignation. Dan takes the paper from him calmly and looks at it.
INSERT OF PICTURE IN NEWSPAPER OF ARLENE COMPTON.
LAP DISSOLVE TO:
NEWSPAPER ARTICLE ACCOMPANYING PICTURE which reads:
Having become accustomed to expect about anything
from Dan Winterslip, one of the Island’s wealthiest and
most colorful characters, we are prepared to accept with
calm an announcement of his marriage to Arline Compton,
DAN’S VOICE: (Reads article aloud through the insert) “Having become accustomed to expect about anything from Dan Winterslip, one of the Island’s wealthiest and most colorful characters, we are prepared to accept with calm, an announcement of his marriage any day now to Arline Compton, picturesque widow.”
Dan reads the article and smiles provokingly, and puts paper down.
DAN: Imagine, they’ve spelt her name wrong.
AMOS: (Infuriated by his manner) It isn’t bad enough that everyone knows of your shady methods of the last thirty years. This trafficking with a woman of her type is a disgrace to the name of Winterslip. Who is she? You know what they say?
Dan is beginning to burn but he compels himself to speak calmly.
DAN: No, Amos, what do they say?
AMOS: (Virtually triumphant) That her husband’s aeroplane crash was not an accident.
AMOS: He committed suicide. Because of her – (With disgust) flaunting around town in the jewels and flashy clothes you gave her. (He points to the picture of Barbara)
INSERT OF BARBARA’S PICTURE.
We hear Amos’ voice coming over insert.
AMOS’ VOICE: What will your daughter say when she comes back from San Francisco?
Dan looks thoughtfully at the picture, rises and taking Amos’ arm, leads him to the screen door at the end of the veranda.
SHOOTING THROUGH SCREEN, we see a white picket fence in the background with Amos and Dan in foreground. Dan points toward this fence.
DAN: Now, look here, Amos. For over thirty years you’ve lived on the other side of that fence, snooping around, watching my activities – condemning me in your righteous heart. You’ve refused to speak to me – denied me as a brother – cursed me and prayed God to strike me dead for my sins, and now you dare come over here and tell me how to live my life.
CLOSE SHOT AT DOORWAY TO DINING ROOM.
Koahla, man-servant, discovered eavesdropping on Amos and Dan. Dan’s voice is heard.
DAN’S VOICE: (Quietly) You get out of here before I forget you’re my brother.
AMOS: You’ll pay for this. You may have prospered in this life with your shady methods, but in the life to come you’ll get yours.
Amos jerks open the screen door, stalks out slamming the door after him. Amos exits.
Dan has crossed to the table and is pouring himself a drink.
Amos turns a corner and bumps into Minerva, very nearly knocking her down.
AMOS: Oh I beg your pardon. Oh Minerva!
MINERVA: (Catching her breath) Well you are in a hurry. You must be going to a prayer meeting.
AMOS: (Furiously) Perhaps if you went and prayed for your brother, Dan, it wouldn’t do any harm.
MINERVA: (Amused) He’s your brother, too. Why don’t you try it?
AMOS: If something isn’t done to stop him from going through with that affair, no Winterslip will ever be able to hold his head up again. (Furiously) I’d see him dead rather than married to that woman.
With that, Amos goes on his way. Minerva looks after him.
Dan has finished mixing his drink as Minerva enters.
DAN: Hello, Minerva.
MINERVA: Hello, Dan.
DAN: There’s some mail for you.
He indicates a packet of mail on the table. Minerva crossed toward it, talking as she walks.
MINERVA: Thank you.
DAN: Want a drink?
MINERVA: (Starting to read letter) Make it man-sized – I’m parched. I heard you shouting all the way down the beach.
DAN: (Chuckling) My most righteous brother finally broke his silence of thirty years to rebuke me and assure me the Lord was about to strike me dead for my sins. (He shrugs) Just a Puritan touched by the sun.
Off-stage phone rings twice and stops.
Dan begins to prepare a huge scotch and soda for Minerva. Koahla, the native boy, enters.
KOAHLA: Mr. Eagan of Reef and Palm Hotel on telephone again.
DAN: (Shortly) I’ve told you a dozen times I don’t want to talk to him.
KOAHLA: Yes, sir.
Koahla leaves and Dan hands Minerva her drink.
MINERVA: Thank you, Dan.
She takes a long swallow of the scotch.
(Referring to letter) Well, they’re sending a policeman for me.
DAN: A policeman?
MINERVA: (Smiles) It’s worse than that. I could manage a policeman – they’re sending John Quincy Winterslip – one of Boston’s best.
Dan settles down into an easy chair and picks up the newspaper Amos has left.
DAN: Well, what’s he to me?
DAN: Well, I don’t understand why they’re sending him for you – aren’t you able to take care of yourself?
MINERVA: He’s the only available male in the family. I’ve written to them I’m having a good time and that’s more than they can tolerate.
DAN: (Smiles) I suppose he’ll stop with brother Roger in San Francisco. How about wiring him to make his home with us when he gets here?
MINERVA: (Laughs) You don’t know what you’re letting yourself in for, Dan. John Quincy is just like Amos thirty years ago – without the touch of sun.
Dan, beginning to look over the newspaper, chuckles. Minerva seats herself and enjoys her drink. Suddenly, Dan sees something in the paper which appears to upset him. His expression changes.
DAN: (Harshly) Koahla!
He throws the newspaper aside, rises and crosses impatiently to the door, meeting the house-boy as he appears there.
DAN: (To Koahla) My car outside?
KOAHLA: Yes, sir.
Dan picks up his hat from a peg on the wall and starts for the screen door where he turns and looks back at Minerva.
DAN: I’m going down to the cable office. I’ll be back in time for lunch. (Exits)
Under the pretext of tidying room, Koahla picks up paper and exits.
DAN’S HOUSE – ANOTHER ROOM
Koahla enters with paper in stealthy manner. He reads the article which Dan has folded uppermost, with great interest.
INSERT: FOLDED NEWSPAPER –
______________________________________________________________________ T.M. BRADE DUE
Next week from India comes T.M. Brade, retired British Civil Servant. This
is his first visit of the Islands, and is the gratification of a life-long desire.
INTERIOR DAN’S HOUSE
This information seems to mean something to Koahla. He tears the item out of the paper –
Kamaikui, coming down hall, calls –
KAMAIKUI: Koahla! Koahla! Koahla!
KOAHLA hears the call. He quickly slips the torn bit of paper into his pocket and, to avoid seeing Kamaikui at this moment, nimbly slips over the window sill, drops to the ground and runs madly down the beach.
CLOSEUP ON LIFE PRESERVER attached to the railing on a ferry boat. Inscribed on it is:
TAMALPAIS, OAKLAND – SAN FRANCISCO
In the background we have a process shot of the bay and the San Francisco sky line.
DISOLVE TO: DECK OF FERRY – BOAT IN MOTION.
Same process shot in background. Colored porter loaded with eight pieces of elaborate pigskin luggage which include a set of golf clubs and a hat box, comes into the scene. As the porter, exhausted, sets them down, we notice that they are initialed “J.Q.W.” and labeled “Boston.” The porter wipes his brow and turns grinning as John Quincy, a young man of twenty-eight, or so, immaculately clad and formal with cane and gloves, comes into the scene. He tips the porter.
PORTER: Your first trip out?John nods briefly as if wishing to dismiss the man.
JOHN: Yes.PORTER: Some place, California.
JOHN: Yes, quite – thank you.
PORTER: Thank you, sir.
The porter goes on his way. John leans against the rail looking out and frowning. It is a misty day. A hearty, middle-aged man standing there observes John’s impressive luggage.
MAN: First trip out this way?
JOHN: (Coldly) Yes – first.
MAN: (Not at all daunted) Well too bad it’s so foggy. Unusual. As a rule this is the most beautiful view in the world.
JOHN: (Coldly polite) Is that so?
MAN: Oh yes. We’re noted out here for our —
JOHN: (Bitingly) How fascinating.
The man realizes that John does not intend to respond to his cordial efforts. He shrugs and moves away. John sighs with relief and gazes out over the water. A second man comes over to him, notices the luggage and then says:
SECOND MAN: You got a match, stranger?
John turns and observes him with restrained patience.
JOHN: No – sorry.
SECOND MAN: First trip out this way?
JOHN: (Controlling a sigh) Yes.
SECOND MAN: It’s a great country – too bad it’s so foggy today. Unusual. Most of the time we can see the Golden Gate and Mount Tamalpais. Great sight. Ever see Mount Tamalpais?
SECOND MAN: Ha, ha. Of course not. You just told me that this was your first trip out here. Too bad about this fog.
JOHN: (In cold, measured tones) I like the fog, do you mind terribly?
The second man walks away. John grits his teeth and turns back to his survey of the water, standing with his back full to the camera. Now Carlotta enters the scene and drops her heavy bag with relief.
CLOSEUP OF JOHN as he hears the bag drop. His expression is one of extreme annoyance. Anticipating the questions, he decides to nip them in the bud and without looking around starts talking.
JOHN: (Wearily) Yes, this is my first trip out here and it’s too bad about the fog or I’d see Mount Tamalpais or the Golden Gate – and I haven’t got a match.
MEDIUM CLOSE SHOT – ANOTHER ANGLE
For a moment Carlotta looks at him in astonishment. Then she decides it must be a game and why shouldn’t she play it too? John turns in astonishment to find Carlotta beside him.
CARLOTTA: (In profound sympathy) Haven’t you really got a match?
She opens her purse and hands him a packet. Dumbfounded he takes them without being aware of the fact that he’s done so.
CARLOTTA: You don’t mean to tell me that you haven’t got a cigarette either?
She opens her case and offers John a cigarette. John quickly hands her back the matches.
JOHN: Oh I – I’m terribly sorry. I must’ve sounded quite crazy.
CARLOTTA: That’s all right.
She turns away smiling.
JOHN: (Annoyed by the smile) But I’m not crazy really, you know!
Carlotta hastens to assure him.
CARLOTTA: All right – all right.
As if she is just a bit frightened, she starts to move away. John pursues her a step, detaining her.
JOHN: I know, but the more I insist I’m not the more you’ll think I am.
CARLOTTA: (Anxious to get away) I promise never to think about it.
JOHN: But you are thinking it, I know. I’m afraid I became a bit annoyed by the hearty cordiality of these people. Everyone felt obligated to assure me that the fog was unusual and this was really a very beautiful country. I just wanted to beat the next nuisance to it, that’s all.
CARLOTTA: (Stiffly) Oh, I see. May I go now?
She turns to move away.
JOHN: (It suddenly dawns on him) I say, are you trying to make a fool out of me?
Carlotta smiles as if to say, “God’s already done that.” Then she turns and surveys his luggage.
CARLOTTA: Where are you bound for?
Carlotta touches his hat box.
CARLOTTA: What’s in there – a high hat?
JOHN: (Formally) Naturally.
CARLOTTA: (Laughs) A high hat in Hawaii. Why you’ll be taken for a missionary.
John looks chagrined.
(With mock apology) Oh, I’m sorry – it never occurred to me – perhaps you are a missionary.
John looks coldly at her and then, bending over his luggage, he deliberately picks up the box and throws it overboard.
JOHN: Do you feel better now?
Carlotta turns, concealing a smile, and sees –
STOCK SHOT – FERRY SLIP
MEDIUM CLOSE SHOT –
CARLOTTA: Oh, we’re coming in.
She picks up her bag and starts off. John hurriedly begins to gather up his luggage, eager to go with her.
JOHN: Oh can’t we go – I mean I’d like to – if you’d care to wait it would only take me a moment – I’d put you in a cab.
Carlotta continues on her way, looks back smiling over her shoulder and calls a warning.
CARLOTTA: Don’t go native over there.
John, anxious to follow the girl, struggles with his luggage, picking up one piece and dropping another. Finally he becomes exasperated, looks at the luggage helplessly and mad through and through and shouts for help.
JOHN: Porter! Porter!
While waiting for the porter, he begins to stack up the bags in as good order as possible. The porter comes running to him grinning and takes charge of the luggage, noticing as he does so, the Boston labels.
PORTER: First trip out this way, sir? Too bad about the fog.
This is the final straw for John, who looks as if he could curse with rage. Then his sense of humor gets the best of the situation. He laughs, as we
EXTERIOR SAN FRANCISCO STREET – NIGHT. An establishing shot.
ANOTHER STREET. RESIDENCE DISTRICT. NIGHT. CLOSE SHOT ROGER WINTERSLIP’S CAR as chauffeur opens the door.
JOHN: (Protesting) Now look here, Uncle Roger. I demand an explanation of all this mystery. I’m hardly off the ferry when you whisk me into your car, rush me out to Uncle Dan’s house, shove this box into my hands and tell me to throw it into the Pacific tomorrow. It all seems utterly ridiculous to me.
ROGER: (Chuckling) Frankly, everything your Uncle Dan does is ridiculous.
JOHN: (Exasperated) But I don’t understand it. Why don’t we destroy it here? Why do I have to take it on a boat and drop it into the Pacific?
ROGER: Read this. That’s the way Dan wants it – and it’s always wise to accommodate Dan. Now that’s settled, where do you want to go?
JOHN: Frankly, I’d like to take the next train for Boston.
ROGER: Nonsense – a little San Francisco night life will soon change that idea.
QUICK FADE OUT AND INTO:
INTERIOR NIGHT CLUB
Shooting through archway into supper room, dance number is being played and the dance floor in the center of the room is crowded. Roger and John enter from the left and stop in the archway. They are met by the Captain, who greets them.
ROGER: Hello, Bill.
BILL: Hello, Roger.
ROGER: How are you?
CUT TO NEARBY TABLE
Cope, a man of about fifty, of military bearing, is seated.
COPE: Who’s that?
BILL: Roger Winterslip.
COPE: I thought I recognized him. Dan Winterslip’s brother, eh?
BILL: That’s right. You knew Dan in the old days. I suppose you’ll be seeing him when you get to Hawaii.
COPE: (Angrily) Not if I can help it. Hanging’s too good for Dan Winterslip. And I might be tempted to —- (Catches himself and forces a laugh) I guess Hawaii’s big enough for the two of us.
Cope offers a cigarette from his case.
BILL: Oh I remember now – you were once engaged to his sister, Minerva.
COPE: (Bitterly) And we’d’ve been married today if Dan hadn’t interfered.
EDGE OF DANCE FLOOR – TRUCKING
Roger and John are skirting the dance floor. Suddenly, from the dance floor a woman’s hand reaches into the scene, seizing Roger’s shoulder. THE CAMERA STOPS with Roger and John and then we see that it is Barbara who has detained Roger. Harry Jennison, a good-looking young chap in his middle thirties, is her dancing partner. As he sees Barbara, Roger’s face lights up.
BARBARA: Uncle Roger!
ROGER: Barbara, you little devil, you. Why didn’t you let me know you were in town?
He shakes hands with Jennison.
BARBARA: (Indicating Jennison) His fault. Our table’s over there. (Indicating table further along)
As Barbara speaks, she and Jennison are bumped into by a passing couple on the crowded dance floor. Barbara and Jennison resume dancing as Barbara calls over Jennison’s shoulder.
BARBARA: Join us.
Roger and John arrive at the table which is on the edge of the dance floor. As they are seating themselves, Roger says:
ROGER: And that, my boy, is your cousin, Dan’s daughter. No doubt you’ll be crossing on the same boat with her.
JOHN: She’s very attractive but who’s the man?
ROGER: Harry Jennison. Oh, just another Islander. Been Dan’s lawyer for years.
As Roger speaks a waiter comes to the table, handing both men menus.
The dance number is over and Barbara and Jennison come back to the table. John and Roger rise and Roger says:
ROGER: I hope you weren’t going to sail without coming to see me first.
He turns to John.
I want you to meet your cousin, John Quincy Winterslip.
JOHN: How do you do?ROGER: He’s going over to the Islands to bring home your Aunt Minerva. John, this is Mr. Jennison.
JOHN: Aufully glad to know you.
JENNISON: How do you do.
The men shake hands and murmur a friendly greeting. The music starts up again for the second half of the dance, and Barbara, full of animation, turns to John.
BARBARA: Would you like to finish this dance, John Quincy?
JOHN: (Gravely – formally) Thank you. (Turns to the men) Would you excuse us, please?
ROGER: Go ahead, my boy.
JENNISON: Why certainly – yes.
John and Barbara step to the dance floor. The CAMERA TRUCKS ALONG with them as they dance. Barbara looks up teasingly into John’s serious face.
BARBARA: You look as if you’ve missed something. Should we have kissed?
JOHN: (Flustered) Why really, I —
BARBARA: What do cousins do in Boston?
JOHN: (Nervously trying to joke) Why rub noses, I guess.
BARBARA: What fun.
She stretches up and manages to rub his nose, much to his embarrassment. However, he evidently has liked it. She moves closer to him in dance positions and then the CAMERA STOPS, allowing them to dance away and lose themselves amongst the other couples.
NIGHT CLUB – CLOSEUP AT TELEPHONE
Cope is speaking into mouthpiece.
COPE: Anchor Steamship Company? This is Captain Cope. (Impatiently and slowly) Captain Arthur Temple Cope. I’ve changed my mind about the President Tyler. I can’t wait two days – (Waits) Matsonia or the Australian boat – tomorrow at noon? Very well, I’ll take the Australian boat. Thank you.
LONG SHOT SHIP AT SEA – NIGHT
EXTERIOR ON BOAT
OFFICER: Anything the matter?
JOHN: Not a thing. Just taking a little exercise.
OFFICER: Better try it my way.
JOHN: Thank you no, I’m just going down here.
OFFICER: All right – good night.
JOHN: Good night.
Barbara and Jennison as they slip from close embrace.
JENNISON: I – I was almost afraid to ask you.
BARBARA: I was almost afraid you weren’t going to.
233 South Broadway, New York
DARLING DAD AM ENGAGED TO HARRY JENNISON
DELERIOUSLY HAPPY HOW ABOUT BIG PARTY TOWEL
WELCOME US AND GIVE PATERNAL BLESSINGS
EXTERIOR DAN’S HOUSE – NIGHT
Dan’s car waits in driveway. We see a shadowy figure lurking.
Back of a clump of bushes, evidently lying in wait for Dan. Dan comes from the house and is about to step into his car when this figure steps out onto the driveway and we see that he is a rather seedy looking Englishman, tall, wiry, about forty-five years of age. He steps close to Dan.
MAN: (Taking hold of Dan’s arm) Mr. Winterslip.
DAN: (Looks at the man and draws his arm away roughly) Well, what is it?
MAN: I don’t suppose you remember me. I’m Eagan.
DAN: Oh – you run the Reef and Palm Hotel. Well, what do you want?
EAGAN: Twenty years ago I was a bank teller in Sydney, Australia. We met there.
DAN: (Brusquely) You’re mistaken.
EAGAN: (Darkly, positively) Oh no I’m not. (With foreboding menace) T.M. Brade is in town! I suppose you never heard of him.
DAN: (Angrily) No.
EAGAN: (Smiling harshly) He’s stopping at my hotel. It might be a good idea to have a private talk with me before he sees you.
DAN: (Almost shouting in his anger) Now you listen to me. I don’t know what you’re talking about. If I ever catch you skulking around these grounds again, I’ll have you arrested.
Dan gets into his car and the car starts to move.
EAGAN: (Half to himself) You’ll see me.
INTERIOR ARLENE COMPTON’S BEACH HOME
It is attractively shabby. Arlene is a faded bleached blond past thirty, who might once have been beautiful. A victrola is playing. Steve and Arlene are dancing to the strains of seductive Hawaiian music. There is a knock at the door. Arlene motions to Steve to duck into the other room, which he does nonchalantly, arranging his clothes. Arlene arranges her hair, etc., and goes to the door. She opens the door.
ARLENE: Come in. Darling, I didn’t expect you so early.
DAN: I can only stay a minute.
ARLENE: Oh it seems like I never have you to myself anymore. Don’t you love me?
DAN: Of course I do. Now seriously, Arlene. I’m going to ask you to do me a big favor.
ARLENE: What is it?
DAN: Well I – I must have that emerald brooch back.
It is obvious that Arlene has no intention of returning the brooch. She stalls.
ARLENE: Why gladly. I’ll get it for you. Oh, dear!
DAN: What’s the matter.
ARLENE: I can’t give it to you now. It’s at the jewelers having the clasp fixed.
ARLENE: It’s at the jewelers having the clasp fixed.
DAN: (Harshly) Well why didn’t you bring it to me to have it fixed? I told you no one should see that brooch.
ARLENE: I’m sorry. I forgot.
DAN: It’s vitally important that I get it back immediately. I’ll give you something in place of it.
ARLENE: You shall have it first thing in the morning. I promise. (Brightly) And I know what you can get for me in exchange. Do you remember that emerald necklace we saw in the arcade of the Royal Hawaiian?
DAN: Yeah. Well it’s as good as yours.
ARLENE: (Gratefully) You are sweet.
DAN: I’ve got to run – have a business appointment that won’t keep – but I’ll see you later. Goodbye.
The moment he’s out of that door, Arlene crosses to a chest of drawers and takes out a brooch.
INSERT of old-fashioned brooch in Arlene’s hand.
INTERIOR ARLENE’S BEACH HOUSE
Arlene looks at the brooch as if it were a valuable piece of property. The door of the bedroom opens and Steve Leatherbee, an obvious pimp type, enters the room. He calmly takes the brooch out of her hand.
STEVE: Listen you! I’m sick of this place, see? I got to get back to New York and the mob. You’ve been playing this mug for months, and all you got is some cheesy clothes and a phony piece of jewlry. I want cash, quick, and plenty of it. Now get busy!
ARLENE: Oh I’m trying the best I can.
STEVE: Trying ain’t good enough, see? Start doing.
ARLENE: (Coming to him coquettishly) And if I do, what happens?
STEVE: What do you think?
He kisses her.
ANCHOR PLUNGING INTO WATER.
DECK OF SHIP – NIGHT
The captain is met at the foot of the companionway by a group of passengers, including John, Jennison, Barbara, Berkeley, and Higgins. Conversation ad lib concerning the disappointment at failing to arrive in time to make the harbor.
CAPTAIN: I’m sorry, I did my best, but I warned you.
WOMAN: I don’t see why. It’s so silly to wait out here for a quarantine – nobody has smallpox.
CAPTAIN: Port regulations, Madam. We dock at nine in the morning.
The crowd, disappointed, moves away, ad libbing “Too bad”, “What a shame”, etc. Higgins lingers behind the others.
HIGGINS: Listen, Captain, I’ve got to get ashore tonight. Couldn’t one of your men take me in in a small boat?
CAPTAIN: Not a chance, Mr. Higgins.
HIGGINS: But Captain, it’s very important. Listen Captain, you see —
The Captain walks away. Higgins moves to the railing and gazes frowningly toward the shore.
EXTERIOR DECK – FARTHER ALONG
BERKELEY: (Speaking to the quartermaster) Higgins seems anxious enough to try to swim it.
QUARTERMASTER: Better not try it unless he’s an expert. It’s a good two miles.
VOICE: That’s a good one.
ANOTHER PART OF DECK
Barbara, Jennison, and John.
BARBARA: Dad will be disappointed. I’ll bet he had a party all ready.
JENNISON: (To John) Yes, and after one or two of Dan Winterslip’s parties, you’ll never go back, John.
JOHN: I’m quite sure I shall return to Boston.
BARBARA: (Laughs) Aunt Minerva once said something like that – but she traded her lorgnette for a ukulele.
EXTERIOR DAN’S HOUSE – NIGHT
The house is in darkness. An automobile rolls up to the driveway, stops and Minerva gets out, carrying a ukelele.
MINERVA: (To occupants of car) Don’t bother to come in with me – I’m quite all right.
MINERVA: Thank you. I’ve had a delightful evening.
WOMAN: We’ll see you again soon.
MAN: Been a pleasure seeing you. Goodnight.
MINERVA: Goodnight. Goodnight. Thank you.
WOMAN: Goodnight.MINERVA: Goodnight.MAN: Goodnight.
The car moves away as Minerva enters the darkened house.
INTERIOR DAN’S HOUSE – LIVING ROOM – DARK SET
Through wide open door we can see the veranda bright with moonlight. At first the only sign of movement is the illuminated dial of a wrist watch moving in the shadows. Minerva enters. Instantly, the dial stops moving, then apparently the wearer slips stealthily through some thin hangings into the dining room. Minerva gives a startled gasp and hastens from the room by another door.
Minerva comes to servant’s door and knocks very lightly.
MINERVA: (Softly) Koahla! Koahla!
The native boy, fully dressed, suddenly appears behind Minerva from the darkness of the hallway.
MINERVA: (Turns to him) Someone downstairs prowling about. Come quickly.
They go quietly down the hall.
INTERIOR LIVING ROOM
Minerva and Koahla enter. She turns on the light.
MINERVA: Where is Mr. Dan?
KOAHLA: I think asleep.
Minerva crosses to the door leading to the veranda.
In the moonlight we can faintly see Dan lying half off the couch, face upward, one arm hanging limp, the other twisted behind his back. Minerva raises her hand to her mouth suppressing a scream. Koahla runs to her side.
MINERVA: Oh! Dan!
Realizing that Dan is dead, Minerva stumbles back, saying unsteadily, and grabs the back of a chair.
KOAHLA: I call police.
She goes into the living room. Koahla, after a frightened look at the murdered man, follows.
INTERIOR LIVING ROOM
Minerva crosses to the phone.He hurries into the dining room. Minerva picks up phone.
MINERVA: The Royal Hawaiian Hotel, please. (Waits)
Hotel operator at telephone.
OPERATOR: Royal Hawaiian.
INTERIOR LIVING ROOM
MINERVA: May I speak to Captain Arthur Temple Cope?
CLOSE SHOT – Hotel operator.
OPERATOR: Captain Cope is not in.
INTERIOR LIVING ROOM
MINERVA: Not in his room?
CLOSE SHOT – Hotel operator.
OPERATOR: Shall I have him paged?
INTERIOR LIVING ROOM
Minerva looks at her watch.
INSERT OF WATCH showing the time to be 1:20.
INTERIOR LIVING ROOM
MINERVA: (Into phone) No, thank you.
She hangs up, then jiggles receiver.
MINERVA: Three eight seven, please. (She waits) Hello Amos. This is Minerva. Come over here as quickly as possible.
Evidently Amos at the other end starts to protest. Minerva cuts him short.
Please, Amos, this is no time for nonsense. Your brother is dead – murdered!
She hangs up.
INTERIOR POLICE STATION
Captain Hallett at desk, talking into phone.
CAPTAIN HALLETT: Hello. Yes? Who? Murdered? Coming right over.
Hallett hangs up, then jiggles receiver once or twice.
HALLETT: Get me Charlie Chan. Right.
INTERIOR CHAN’S LIVING ROOM
The dark room is splotched with moonlight. The telephone is ringing loudly.
NOTE: Throughout all the short scenes that follow, the telephone bell continues to ring.
Twin beds occupied by Chan and his wife. They are waking to the sound of the telephone bell.
QUICK FLASHES of each of Chan’s eleven children waking.
INTERIOR CHAN’S LIVING ROOM
Chan, folding dressing gown about him, enters, followed by Mrs. Chan.
MRS. CHAN: What’s matter?
CHAN: Even wisest man cannot tell until disagreeable instrument answered.
Chan makes a light while he speaks. In rapid succession all the eleven children come hurrying into the room, in various stages of undress, watching while Chan lifts the telephone receiver.
CHAN: (Into phone) Yes? Oh – unfortunate. I shall come with speed of wind if my dishonorable car permits. Thank you so much.
Chan hangs up and hastens from the room to dress. Mrs. Chan follows.
Now the children begin scurrying about. One gets Chan’s flashlight, another gets his gun from the drawer, one of the very small ones gets his coat and is nearly hidden under it, trying to carry it. He looks like a Chinese Skippy. They all rush into the other room.
INTERIOR CHAN’S BEDROOM
Chan is now almost dressed.
OLDEST BOY: (Handing him the gun) Okay, Pop?
As he turns to go out,
FADE OUT AND INTO:
INTERIOR DAN’S LIVING ROOM
Discovering Minerva, Captain Hallett, a policeman and a doctor. Hallett is questioning Minerva.
HALLETT: Nothing has been touched?
MINERVA: No.HALLETT: All right, now from the beginning. You live here?
MINERVA: (Resents his brusque tone) I’m visiting.
MINERVA: (Sharply) “Hmm” nothing, my good man – I’m his sister.
The doctor appears in the doorway and calls.
DOCTOR: Captain Hallett.
HALLETT: Right – excuse me.
Hallett crosses and both he and the doctor go to the veranda.
The doctor and Hallett are leaning over the body of Dan.
DOCTOR: Stabbed through the heart. Not been dead an hour. Look at this. (Turns the body over so that one arm falls limply) Arm broken. This job was done either by a very strong man or someone well versed in the Japanese art of Jiu Jitsu.
He turns and goes back into the living room.
INTERIOR DAN’S LIVING ROOM
Minerva sits stiffly upright in her chair and as Hallett approaches her, looks at him a little belligerently.
HALLETT: Hmm. Now, let’s see. What did you say your name was?
MINERVA: I didn’t say – I wasn’t asked. Minerva Winterslip.
HALLETT: Hmm. The doctor tells me Mr. Winterslip has been dead but a little while. Now if you can give me any idea as to —
MINERVA: I can give you a very definite idea. It happened within two minutes of fifteen past one.
HALLETT: (Stares at her) Are you sure of that?
MINERVA: Certainly I’m sure. I got the time from the wrist watch of the person who committed the murder.
HALLETT: (Astonished) What’s that – you saw him?
MINERVA: (Coldly) I didn’t say that – I said I saw his wrist watch – the dial was illuminated and if it will be of any assistance to you, the numeral indicating the hour two was slightly obscured.
HALLETT: Well you certainly had your wits about you.
MINERVA: Where else should they be? And if you had your wits about you, you’d be searching the grounds right now.
Minerva rises and crosses to a window as if to draw the blind. Suddenly she bends a trifle, looking out into the garden and exclaims:
MINERVA: There’s a man out there in the bushes right now!
Without waiting for Hallett, Minerva makes a dash for the door. Hallett follows.
EXTERIOR DAN’S GARDEN
Minerva comes upon a crouching figure and is about to seize hold of it when the figure straightens and we recognize the bland face of Chan. Hallett comes hastily up and exclaims:
HALLETT: Hello Charlie – what are you doing out here?
CHAN: Like when eating peach – start outside and work to center.
Chan shows him a small white object he has picked up.
Small cigarette butt in Chan’s fingers.
EXTERIOR DAN’S GARDEN
MINERVA: Who is this man?
HALLETT: This is Mr. Chan, Miss Winterslip. (Explaining to Chan) Miss Winterslip is the sister to the deceased man.
CHAN: Most unfortunate. Be generous to accept my most unworthy condolence.
MINERVA: Well what has he to do with this?
HALLETT: Mr. Chan has charge of his case.
MINERVA: (With asperity) Charge of the case? A Chinese detective?
CHAN: Humbly suggest not to judge wine by barrel it is in.
MINERVA: Well, I never. I see where I shall have to send to Washington for assistance – the idea!
CHAN: Politely suggest cooperation for good of all. (To Hallett) Shall we proceed to scene of most upsetting crime?
HALLETT: Hmm – right this way.
They all turn and start back into the house.
INTERIOR DAN’S LIVING ROOM
It is evident that Chan has been questioning Minerva for some time and she shows signs of fatigue.
MINERVA: I’ve told you all I know about it.
CHAN: Most helpful – thank you so much. The servants?
MINERVA: I’ll call them.
She crosses to the thin curtains that hang from the dining room doorway. As she does so, Chan quickly crosses to the door on the opposite side of the room and pulls it open. Both Koahla and Kamaikui have been leaning against it, crouching. They now come into the room.
CHAN: To be found listening to what is not meant for your ears is to show that you have something to conceal. (To Koahla) Speak! What do you know of this lowly deed?
KOAHLA: (Surily) I go sleep early – know nothing.
MINERVA: (Sharply) You weren’t asleep when I called you – you weren’t even in your room.
KOAHLA: Went for drink water.
CHAN: You — more later. (To Kamaikui) And you?
KAMAIKUI: Many people here tonight –
KAMAIKUI: No see. Go to bed early but cannot sleep. Hear loud talk – first man he shout and go. Then woman and man shout and go. Then man shout and go. Everybody come and shout and go and come back. Mr. Winterslip shout too.
CHAN: You understand what they say?
Now over the scene comes the loud, righteous voice of Amos.
AMOS’ VOICE: The wages of sin is death.
INTERIOR DAN’S LIVING ROOM – ANOTHER ANGLE
They all turn quickly to find Amos standing tall and fanatic looking in the doorway.
MINERVA: (Nervously) For goodness sake!
AMOS: (Entering the room) I warned you as to the outcome of all this, Minerva.
Chan approaches Amos quietly as latter seats himself in the nearest chair and drops his straw hat on the floor beside him.
CHAN: You mention warning about outcome. Humbly ask you tell what you know of this.
AMOS: I know this – you cannot live a life of sin and hope for happiness in the hereafter.
CHAN: Profound wisdom – but not helpful at present. How did you learn of crime?
AMOS: My sister called me on the phone and I notified the police.
CHAN: Why did you not come right over?
CHAN: Were you already in bed?
CHAN: What have you been doing since telephone call?
AMOS: I have been praying for my brother’s soul.
MINERVA: (With asperity) That doesn’t help Mr. Chan either, Amos. (Thinking) Oh now I think of it – I remember a man named Eagan calling on the phone a dozen times. Dan refused to talk to him.
CHAN: Eagan? Reef and Palm Hotel. Most helpful. Thank you so much.
Chan turns slowly away from Amos and crosses the floor as if he is thinking deeply. Suddenly his sharp eyes encounter something on the floor. He quickly stoops.
BIG CLOSEUP of Chan’s hand picking up a piece of seaweed and turning it over once or twice, investigating it.
Chan straightens and puts the seaweed in his pocketbook without a word, although both Minerva and Amos have observed his action with curiosity. As Minerva is about to question him concerning it, Chan quickly diverts her by looking at his watch and saying:
CHAN: Time most rapidly flying to three o’clock – humbly suggest we all try to get sleep.
MINERVA: (Indignantly) Sleep – with a murderer prowling about free.
CHAN: Only make haste when catching flea.
MINERVA: Really, Mr. Chan –
Chan picks up his hat and crosses to the door. Turning:
CHAN: Good night –
MINERVA: But Mr. Chan –
CHAN: Worry not – what is to be is to be – and inscrutable fates very busy arranging program.
Chan leaves. Minerva and Amos sit in silence for a long moment, and then Minerva suddenly remembering, exclaims:
MINERVA: Poor Barbara – what shall I say to her when she gets off the boat in the morning?
AMOS: (Sanctimoniously) However painful – the truth is always best.
He picks up his hat, rises and starts for the door. Minerva looks after him, her brows knit. As he reaches the door, she calls sharply:
MINERVA: Amos –
AMOS: (Turns) What is it?
MINERVA: (Slowly) What do you know about this?
Amos shows nervousness and is almost too greatly astonished:
AMOS: I? You must be mad, Minerva.
He turns hastily and leaves.
Kamaikui and Koahla are discovered in what amounts almost to a struggle. Kanaikui is clutching something and Koahla is trying to wrest it from her.
KOAHLA: (In Hawaiian) This is mine – I found it on the floor, and I’m going to give it to the owner.
KAMAIKUI: (In Hawaiian) I want it – let me have it – I must give it to Miss Minerva.
KOAHLA: (In Hawaiian) I want to give it to the boss.
MINERVA: (Coming into scene) What’s going on here – what’s going on here?
Koahla looks at her furtively and then slinks away. Kamaikui approaches Minerva holding some object in her outstretched hand.
KAMAIKUI: I find this on porch – he try to take it.
She hands the object to Minerva who takes it and looks down at it curiously.
MINERVA: To whom does it belong?
KAMAIKUI: Many many years Mr. Dan have this and more just like it. Last month he give this to woman down beach.
MINERVA: Don’t mention this to anyone, Kamaikui.
MINERVA: Thank you. Good night.
KAMAIKUI: Good night.
Kamaikui leaves and Minerva looks down again at the object she is holding.
INSERT of Minerva’s hand holding the brooch which we last saw in Arlene Compton’s possession.
INTERIOR DRAWING ROOM – DAY
John and Minerva. John is pacing back and forth.
JOHN: But Aunt Minerva, this is incredible.
MINERVA: It isn’t incredible – it’s a horrible fact, and we’ve got to face it. Something must be done about it.
JOHN: The best thing we can do is take the next boat for Boston.
MINERVA: I’m not leaving here until we get at the bottom of this. (Scornfully) I hope you don’t expect Amos to take care of it!
JOHN: He could be as helpful as you.
MINERVA: (Dryly) Thank you. And now, John Quincy, I’ll tell you something else. (With provoking calm) Not only am I staying, but you are too.
JOHN: (Impatiently) In heaven’s name – why?
MINERVA: There’s Barbara.
JOHN: Well Jennison’s been acquainted with all the facts. And since he and Barbara are going to be married, he naturally he’ll take care of her affairs.
MINERVA: All that doesn’t find the murderer.
JOHN: Well what about this Oriental sleuth you were telling me of?
MINERVA: (With scorn) A Chinaman! Why, even the police in Boston need prodding. When I lost my little dog, Abigail, I finally had to see the police commissioner before I could get the slightest aid in recovering her. (Triumphantly) But they found her – and that’s what I want you to do – accompany this Mr. Chan and keep him from falling asleep under palm trees.
JOHN: (Sighs) And where do I find the Honorable Mr. Chan?
MINERVA: Dozing at his desk in the police station, I’m sure.
JOHN: (Dryly) Hail, the new detective!
John picks up his hat and leaves.
Barbara, wearing the clothes she has arrived in that morning, reclines on a chaise longue, weepingbrokenly. Jennison, very tender and solicitous, is with her.
BARBARA: But I can’t understand it – you know Daddy didn’t have an enemy in the world.
JENNISON: He was one of the finest men I ever knew.
BARBARA: (Suddenly) Uncle Amos! He always hated Daddy! Oh, no, I can’t believe that!
Jennison bends over her, taking her hand and kissing it gently.
JENNISON: No please Barbara – don’t.
BARBARA: (Controlling herself) I’m so glad you’re here darling. You’ll take care of everything won’t you?
JENNISON: Why of course, I will.
There is a light knock on the partly opened door and Minerva enters with a cup of hot coffee for Barbara. As she crosses the room, Minerva says:
MINERVA: I want you to drink this, child.
JENNISON: (Preparing to leave) And I must be going. Do get some rest, Barbara.
Barbara makes a pathetic attempt to smile bravely.
BARBARA: I’ll try.
Jennison kisses her on the forehead.
JENNISON: I’ll be back very soon.
Barbara clings to Minerva who sets the coffee down and puts her arms around the girl.
EXTERIOR DAN’S DRIVEWAY
Jennison’s roadster is parked here. Jennison comes from the house. At the same time Amos is walking along driveway on his way to the house. They meet at the car.
AMOS: Young man, I want a word with you.
AMOS: I feel it is my duty to take a hand in my brother’s affairs. Go over his private papers, in fact.
JENNISON: (Firmly) Oh don’t you bother -Barbara just asked me to attend to all that, Mr. Winterslip.
AMOS: (Raising his voice) I am the logical one, I should think.
JENNISON: (Crisply) After all, I was his attorney.AMOS: That’s exactly why I make my request.
The two men look at each other with repressed antagonism, each showing a certain wariness. Jennison shrugs.
JENNISON: Very well, would tonight suit you?
AMOS: Right now would be even better.
JENNISON: Oh I’m sorry, but just now I have some other business to attend to and I’ve promised Barbara to spend the rest of the day with her.
AMOS: Then we’ll make it this evening.
JENNISON: All right. That’s fine.
Jennison glares after him, gets in his car and drives off.
Amos continues on into the house.
INTERIOR SMALL RESTUARANT
Chan is seated alone at a table near the window as we see printed in reverse on the window:
THE ALL-AMERICAN RESTAURANT
A Japanese waiter comes to the table with a piece of pie and places it in front of Chan. Chan inspects the pie gravely and then calls:
CHAN: Thank you so much. Waiter!
The waiter returns.
Kindly summon proprietor of this unworthy establishment.
WAITER: Please to state your complaint – I am also proprietor.
CHAN: This sector of pie appears most unhygienic. It is my unfortunate lot to look for fingerprints in my profession, but when they appear on pie, they are neither helpful nor tasty.
The waiter picks up the pie and exits with it. John Quincy enters the cafe, looks around, sees Chan and comes to his table.
JOHN: Mr. Chan?
CHAN: Most correct.
JOHN: They told me over at the station that I’d find you here. My name is John Quincy Winterslip.
CHAN: (Rises) Oh, most honored. Pray to accept this unworthy chair.
JOHN: (Sitting down) Thank you. I arrived on the President Tyler this morning from Boston. Dan Winterslip was my uncle.
CHAN: Most unfortunate and disagreeable homicide. It is proper for me to infer that you wish to speak of distressing incident?
JOHN: Why yes. I’d like to accompany you in your investigations. I won’t pretend that I’ll be of much any assistance, but I promise not to be any hindrance.
CHAN: Your desire is my great delight, if for no other reason than your refreshing employment of most extravagant English which is rare here. Most helpful to my meager vocabulary.
JOHN: Oh don’t mention it. Have you formed any theories yet as regards the crime?
CHAN: Theories like fingerprints – everybody has them. Only facts and motives lead to murderer.
(Suddenly remembering) Oh, one thousand pardons – care to partake in humble repast? Dry up plate of soup, perhaps?
JOHN: Thank you, no.
CHAN: Well then let us be on our way. We shall gather to us Captain Hallett and make for Reef and Palm Hotel. (Calls) Proprietor!
Chan picks up the slip on the table which is his check. The waiter comes into the scene.
CHAN: I pay most unwillingly. Anxiously await day when law considers such food major crime.
Chan and John leave the restaurant.
Chan’s antiquated Ford is parked at the curb. Chan and John come into scene. Chan removes huge lock from front wheel of car. John watches him, amused.
JOHN: (Dryly looking car over) I suppose you carry insurance, too?
CHAN: Every kind. A – a most humble chariot but always reliable like model wife.
JOHN: (Looking Ford over) Sort of a Model T wife, eh?
CHAN: Just so. Good joke.
Chan and John get in car. Chan unlocks and works several contraptions. Chan steps on the starter, a bit nervously but when the car responds and motor starts, he sighs with relief and they start out.
EXTERIOR REEF AND PALM HOTEL
It is a weather-beaten frame building, part of it is extending on rickety piling out over the water. A riotous garden surrounds it on the rear and two sides. Chan and John drive up in Chan’s Ford. Behind them comes Hallett in his car. All three get out of cars.
HALLETT: (Looking at John) Who’s this, Charlie?
CHAN: Oh great pleasure in presenting nephew of deceased man. It is his desire to accompany us.
HALLETT: How do you do.JOHN: How do you do.
HALLETT: (Gruffly) Leave the actual business of all this to us.
JOHN: (Stiffly) I have no intentions of doing otherwise, I assure you.
They start for the dilapidated stairway leading up to the entrance of the hotel when Eagan comes running down the stairs. He is about to brush past the three men when Hallett stops him.
HALLETT: Hey, you, Jim Eagan!
EAGAN: (Turning) Hello, Hallet.
HALLETT: I want a word with you.
EAGAN: I’m frightfully sorry, old man, but I have a most pressing date – I’m late as it is. Some other time.
HALLETT: (Like a bullet) Now!
EAGAN: (Without raising his voice) Impossible! I’ve got to be at the dock in five minutes.
Hallett seizes Eagan by the arm and begins to force him back up the stairs again.
HALLETT: Inside, you.
EAGAN: (Furious) Keep your hands off me!
HALLETT: Watch your step, Eagan. I guess you know why we’re here.
EAGAN: I haven’t the slightest idea.
HALLETT: I suppose you don’t know that Dan Winterslip was murdered last night.
EAGAN: So I read in the morning paper, but I still don’t know why you’re here. Charlie,
Hallett again urges Eagan up the stairs.
HALLETT: You were the last person to see him alive. Quit stalling and come on inside.
The four of them mount the stairs.
INTERIOR REEF AND PALM HOTEL
There are two exits in the lobby, which has a picturesque shabbiness. A beachcomber has slipped in when Eagan went out, perhaps to get a glimpse of a newspaper from “home”. When Hallett, John, Eagan and Chan enter, the beachcomber makes a hasty silent exit. Eagan indicates chairs and they all seat themselves.
EAGAN: I’m sure you’ll soon find you’re making a big mistake, so if you will just be as brief as possible, I’ve got to get to the dock.
CHAN: Please. Last night you telephoned Mr. Winterslip. Wished to cancel engagement with him. He insisted upon seeing you. You went to his house some time after eleven o’clock, which he most urgently requested. Conversation with him was exciting. Voices were elevated. It is not quite so?
EAGAN: (Nervously) Quite.
The men are all seated with their backs to the exits, engrossed in their conversation. We see the beachcomber move stealthily past the open doorway and glance in as he passes. Then he moves away.
CHAN: Every fence have two sides. Humbly suggest you tell yours.
EAGAN: (He takes out a cigarette case and with shaking fingers lights a cigarette) I did make an appointment with Winterslip for last night, but I changed my mind. I rang him up on the telephone to let him know, but he insisted on my keeping it. So I – I came, shortly after eleven.
HALLETT: Who let you in?
EAGAN: Winterslip was waiting in the garden. We talked there and then went inside. We talked a half an hour about – about the business I came on. And then I left and came straight here.
CHAN: Your clerk – (Waving hand toward desk) – see you come in?
EAGAN: I have no clerk.
CHAN: You and Mr. Winterslip were good friends?
EAGAN: In the twenty-three years I have been here, I never spoke to him until I called him up on the phone the other morning.
CHAN: Hm. Then you knew him previous?
EAGAN: (Hesitantly) Slightly. So slightly that Winterslip had completely forgotten it.
CHAN: But your memory retained it. And so, after twenty-three years you called him of a sudden on business.
EAGAN: I did.
CHAN: Thank you so much. And now, please, what was that business?
EAGAN: I’m sorry – I can’t tell you that.
HALLETT: Oh, yes you can!
EAGAN: (Quietly) Never!
HALLETT: Come on, you! You’ll tell it to the prosecutor.
Now Eagan is angry. He crushes the cigarette he has been smoking in a tray and rises.
EAGAN: Now, see here – I’ve already told you my business with Winterslip was my own.
Calmly Chan leans over and picks up the cigarette stub. He gazes happily at it, then takes a small box from his pocket, opens it, takes out the stub he found in the garden, comparing them.
Two cigarette stubs in Chan’s fingers, each bearing the name “Corsican”.
CHAN’S VOICE: (Says aloud) “Corsican”.
CHAN: You always smoke these, Mr. Eagan?
EAGAN: (Startled) No.
CHAN: Not for sale on the Island. Please to let me see case.
Eagan reluctantly hands over his case. Chan finds half a dozen of the same brand of cigarettes in thecase. From these he looks inquiringly at Eagan.
EAGAN: (Nervously) They were given to me.
CHAN: Who was generous person?
EAGAN: I can’t tell you that, either.
John is viewing the proceedings with superior distaste.
JOHN: Why don’t you arrest him, Captain Hallett? It’s pretty obvious he’s implicated.
Eagan turns a glare of intense dislike to John. Hallett rises.
HALLETT: Come on, Eagan.
EAGAN: If you’ll only wait until this afternoon –
HALLETT: You’re coming along now.
Eagan suddenly becomes a figure which strongly appeals to the sympathy.
EAGAN: Gentlemen, if you’ll just wait a moment. You’ve already done me out of the pleasure of meeting my daughter at the dock. (He glances at the clock above the desk) The Matsonia‘s been in fifteen minutes and she’ll be here in a moment.
JOHN: (Annoyed) I say, haven’t we wasted enough time already?
CHAN: Time only wasted when sprinkling perfume on goat farm.
Now into the scene comes Carlotta Eagan, with her suitcase. John recognizes her as the girl he has met on the ferry and looks on in astonishment as she drops her grip and runs into Eagan’s arms.
CARLOTTA: Oh Dad!
CARLOTTA: Where were you? You never missed meeting me before. (She suddenly becomes aware of the other men and asks slowly) Why what’s the matter?
EAGAN: I’ve a little business in the city, Carlotta, dear. If I’m not back soon, will you take charge?
CARLOTTA: (Nervously) Well what’s happened?
HALLETT: I’m sorry, Miss, but your father’s being held for questioning in a murder case.
HALLETT: All right, Eagan.
Hallett firmly leads Eagan away. Carlotta stands there bewildered. John steps up to her.
CHAN: So sorry.
JOHN: Perhaps I can explain. I don’t suppose you remember me?
CARLOTTA: Of course I do – the missionary.
She brushes past John, runs to the door and sees:
FROM CARLOTTA’S ANGLE
Eagan getting into Hallett’s car. Hallett gets in and the car starts off.
INTERIOR HOTEL LOBBY – MEDIUM SHOT
Carlotta watches the car disappear. John comes up to her and Carlotta turns quickly to him.
CARLOTTA: What has happened?
JOHN: My uncle has been murdered.
CARLOTTA: And you blame my father?
JOHN: Well I’m awfully sorry, but you see the evidence made it appear –
CARLOTTA: (Flaring) What evidence? How dare you even think my father could do such a thing! Just because we live in a place like this! Oh it’s too bad you threw away that high hat.
Carlotta is ready to weep with anger and anxiety. She turns on her heel and leaves. John looks helplessly after her. Chan, who has been shrewdly observing this, approaches John, who is looking off in the direction taken by Carlotta.
JOHN: Perhaps Eagan isn’t guilty, Mr. Chan. Do you think we’ve been too hasty?
CHAN: Perhaps. Hastily accuse – leisurely repent.
Chan and John are going out of the hotel on Chan’s speech.
EXTERIOR REEF AND PALM
John and Chan come to Chan’s car – Chan takes big old-fashioned lock off wheel. They get in. Again Chan is uncertain as to response of car. He steps on starter and is gratified with the car’s immediate response. Car starts out.
CAMERA TRUCKING ALONG BESIDE THE CAR
Chan’s expression is blandly noncommittal as they ride. John looks worried. Presently he says:
JOHN: There’s been something on my mind for some time, Mr. Chan.
CHAN: I humbly suggest – shoot.
JOHN: A strong-box I was bringing to my Uncle Dan from San Francisco – and on the way over it was stolen from me.
As John starts to tell about the box, CAMERA STOPS, and we see the beachcomber slip from behind palm tree and watch car disappear.
FADE OUT AND INTO:
EXTERIOR DAN’S VERANDA
Amos and Minerva are having tea.
AMOS: (Severely) Of course, I’m not in a position to exert any authority but I feel very strongly against it. The idea of a child planning marriage so soon after her father’s death is little short of sinful.
MINERVA: Well you see, Mr. Jennison has to leave for China next week and will be gone a year. The poor child feels she’ll be better off away, trying to forget it.
AMOS: Even so, it’s disgraceful. There’s such a thing as respect for the dead.
MINERVA: (Sighs) There must be, Amos.
AMOS: Jennison is showing me Dan’s papers tonight. Perhaps I may be able to find some information of importance. You know, I have never trusted Jennison.
John comes into the scene, tosses his hat on a chair and sits down.
JOHN: Oh – oh hello.
MINERVA: What news?
JOHN: They’ve arrested Eagan.MINERVA: Oh.
JOHN: The more I think about it, the less I believe him guilty.
MINERVA: It seems to me you’re all forgetting the wrist watch.
JOHN: So we are.
AMOS: I don’t think that will help us. (Turns directly to Minerva) You know that Compton woman I spoke to you of, Minerva? I feel that the real murderer had something to do with the life Dan led with that woman.
MINERVA: (Slowly) There might be some truth in it.
Minerva reaches for her handbag and takes out the brooch holding it up for them to see.
He gave her this a short time ago. Kamaikui found it here the night of the murder.
JOHN: (Excitedly) Why didn’t she tell Chan about it?
MINERVA: (Coldly) This is not a matter for official prying – I intend to see her myself.
JOHN: No, no, no – I’d better do that.
AMOS: No, no – I’ll see her. Give me the brooch.
They turn as Chan comes into the scene.
CHAN: Good afternoon.
JOHN: Oh hello, Charlie. CHAN: Law is honest man’s eyeglass to see better. Humbly suggest unworthy self as proper person. The brooch, please.
He holds his hand out to Minerva, who after a second’s hesitation, gives him the brooch.
Thank you so much.
INTERIOR ARLENE’S BEACH HOUSE
Steve is standing over Arlene, berating her. She is weeping.
STEVE: I said you was dumb and I still say you’re dumb.
ARLENE: Oh, Steve – how can you be so cruel?
There is a knock at the door.
STEVE: Who is it?
CHAN’S VOICE: Police Department.
Steve and Arlene exchange a quick, frightened glance. Steve goes to the door, the CAMERA PANNING with him. He opens the door, and Chan steps in. He bows to Arlene.
STEVE: Hey – come in.
CHAN: Mrs. Compton?
CHAN: Forgive intrusion, please, but must ask questions about Mr. Dan Winterslip.
Arlene gives a little moan and puts her handkerchief to her eyes.
You know him well?Steve intervenes.
STEVE: Why don’t you leave her alone? Can’t you see she’s all broken up?
Chan turns suavely on him.
CHAN: Sometime beneath eyes that weep are teeth that laugh.
Arlene sits up indignantly.
ARLENE: What do you want to know?
CHAN: You were Mr. Winterslip’s –
He pauses, searching for a word.
– excuse poor English, please – friend?
ARLENE: He was my fiancé.
CHAN: Hm – a soft word does not scratch the tongue.
His death was great surprise to you?
She touches her eyes with the handkerchief and nods.
CHAN: When was last time you saw him?
Arlene changes her front. She is defiant.
ARLENE: How dare you make any insinuations! I know nothing about poor Danny’s death. I haven’t seen him since last Friday.
CHAN: You were not there last night?
Chan extends his open hand, showing her the brooch.
CHAN: Pardon, please.
Arlene gives a start as she sees the brooch.
ARLENE: That’s mine! Give it to me!
Chan shakes his head and puts the brooch in his pocket.
STEVE: Listen – give that back to her or I’ll –
CHAN: It now belongs to law. It was found in house of murdered man.
He stares steadily at her.
CHAN: You were there on night he was killed.
Arlene changes front.
ARLENE: Yes, I was but I had nothing to do with his death. I went there to return that brooch. At nine-thirty I left. That’s the truth. You’re not going to drag my good name into this, are you?
Steve snarls at him.
STEVE: You got nothing on us.
CHAN: That we shall see. In meantime – please not try leaving island. That is official.
He bows and exits. Steve is worried.DISSOLVE TO:
INTERIOR REEF AND PALM HOTEL
Carlotta at desk. Brade, a Cockney provincial, of about fifty years of age, steps up to the deck and gives Carlotta his door key. He is carrying a small traveling bag.
CARLOTTA: Evening, Mr. Brade.
BRADE: Good evening. Any mail?
CARLOTTA: (Turns, looks at pigeon holes) Sorry, not a thing.
BRADE: Oh. I’m leaving for the island of Maui for a few days but I’m not checking out. I’d be obliged if no one went into my room while I’m gone.
CARLOTTA: Oh of course not, Mr. Brade.
Carlotta, who has been going over some papers, now puts some of them into a drawer of the desk. Her attention is arrested by something she sees in the drawer. She quickly picks it up.
INSERT OF CHECK IN CARLOTTA’S HAND
It is for five thousand dollars, payable to James Eagan, and signed by Dan Winterslip.
Security National Trust and Savings Bank #392
Savings and Commercial Trust
Honolulu, T.H. 7-20-1933
Pay to the order of Mr. James Eagan ………………………$5000.00
Five thousand & no/100 dollars.
Carlotta looking at check first in amazement, and then with a thoughtful frown. She looks up to see Koahla come into the lobby. He is carrying a package, wrapped, under his arm, which is actually the strong box. As Koahla approaches the desk, Carlotta hastily slips the check into the drawer and closes it.
KOAHLA: Like to see Mr. Brade, please.
CARLOTTA: I’m sorry, he’s just left. Did you want to leave that package for him?
KOAHLA: No, come back.
He moves away quickly, and is about to leave by the front entrance when suddenly he stops, as he sees someone approaching, and hastily leaves by a door leading to the beach.
JOHN: Oh Miss Eagan.
Carlotta looks up, sees John, and her face becomes set. John finds it difficult to go on, but is determined.
I wish you’d let me explain.
She just stares at him stonily. He finds it still more difficult.
CARLOTTA: Is there an explanation?
JOHN: (A feeble attempt at a joke) Well I’m not a missionary, you know. Unfortunately I’ve been put in the position of playing a detective.
CARLOTTA: (Icily) I wish you would pick up your toys and play somewhere else.
JOHN: Well I didn’t realize – what I really mean is I don’t believe that your father is guilty.
CARLOTTA: (Coldly) Oh that’s very kind of you. You don’t know how relieved I am.(Sarcastically) I suppose now that you’ve changed your mind, he’s automatically released.
JOHN: No, but I’m going to clear him.
CARLOTTA: (Bitterly) Well I don’t see how if you spend your time around here.
With that, Carlotta turns from John deliberately and starts for the door. John follows.
JOHN: (Earnestly) You don’t have to run away, I just want you to believe me, that’s all.
He falls into step with her – as they exit.
Chan enters, finds lobby empty, crosses to desk and looks at register.
A portion of register showing name “T.M. Brade” and “Room No. 14”.
Miss Louise Kornage – Indianapolis, Ind. Room No. 2
T. M. Brade – California Room No. 14
Elizabeth Wilcox, Beverly Hills Room No. 3
Chan’s eyes begin to travel over desk in search of further information.
EXTERIOR MOONLIT BEACH – TRUCKING SHOT
John and Carlotta. He has evidently made her listen to him, but she is far from being friendly.
JOHN: Was the water cold?
JOHN: You swim very well.
JOHN: Now will you listen to me?
CARLOTTA: I am listening.JOHN: All there is to this case is to find the person who fits the clues and as far as I can see it certainly is not your father.
CARLOTTA: (Angrily) Then why don’t they release him?
JOHN: Well, he admits he was there that night, but refuses to tell the nature of his business.
CARLOTTA: I’m sure he had a good reason.
JOHN: Yes, but they don’t know that.
He turns and takes her hands in his.
Now look – isn’t there some way to make you believe that I really want to help you?
Carlotta softens a little.
CARLOTTA: Why should you?
JOHN: (Smiling) Oh the hero always helps the maiden in distress.
CARLOTTA: Are you the hero?
JOHN: You can tell me that later. The important thing right now is to find some way to clear your father.
CARLOTTA: (Slow, struggling with herself as to whether or not to tell) I found a check in father’s desk dated the night of the murder, made out to him by your uncle. (Triumphantly) If Mr. Winterslip gave him a check, my father certainly intended to cash it. Therefore, it would be to his advantage if Mr. Winterslip were alive! That ought to clear him!
JOHN: Sounds reasonable. Will you let me have the check?
CARLOTTA: (Looks at him searchingly as if making up her mind. Finally) As soon as we get back to the hotel.
They turn and start back.INTERIOR REEF AND PALM LOBBY
Cope stands at the desk in the empty lobby. His manner suggests that he has been there for some moments, tapping bell. Chan comes into the lobby, goes behind the desk. We see him place key on #14 rack. Cope, seeing him, thinks he is the clerk.
COPE: Where can I find Mr. Eagan?
Chan realizes Cope’s mistake and is quick to take advantage of it.
CHAN: You are – please?
COPE: My name is Cope.
CHAN: (Gratified) Oh – gives me great honor to make your acquaintance. I intend to visit you later.
COPE: I’m afraid I haven’t the slightest knowledge of who’s addressing me.
CHAN: Your most insignificant servant, Charles Chan.
COPE: Oh. What can I do for you, Mr. Chan?
CHAN: You can make me most happy by telling me what you did last Monday.
Cope stares at Chan with an expression which might be fear. Then he becomes indignant.
COPE: Are you trying to be funny?
CHAN: Funny as man can be about murder.
Chan takes his badge from his pocket and holds it for Cope to look at it.
INSERT OF BADGE IN CHAN’S HAND
Cope’s attitude changes to one of concern.
CHAN: Beg to repeat question.
COPE: (Coldly) I see no reason why I should answer.
He crushes out his cigarette in a tray, and turning on his heel, strides rapidly from the lobby. Chan immediately picks up the stub.
INSERT OF CIGARETTE STUB IN CHAN’S FINGERS
It bears the name “Corsican”.
CHAN’S VOICE: “Corsican”.
Chan looks after Cope’s receding figure and murmurs:
Thank you so much.
EXTERIOR REEF AND PALM MOTEL
TRUCKING SHOT of John and Carlotta coming along the path close to the building. There is a tangled mass of shrubbery against the building.
CARLOTTA: You must have thought I was a pretty dreadful person.
JOHN: Why I didn’t think that for a minute. I understood perfectly how you feel.
CARLOTTA: I’m glad somebody does. I’ve been pretty upset and worried.JOHN: Well, from now on I’m going to share your worries.
CARLOTTA: But won’t you be going back to Boston?
JOHN: Not until we get your father out of trouble. Not until –
He pauses. She looks up at him expectantly, unconsciously they start to sway toward one another.
There is a rustle from the bushes.
CLOSE SHOT ON SHRUB
It moves as if someone were concealed back of it.
EXTERIOR REEF AND PALM – MEDIUM SHOT
John quickly dives into the shrubbery and grapples with someone. Carlotta moves back with a startled cry. John drags the fellow into the bright moonlight. It is Koahla. In the native’s struggle to free himself, the package is torn and he drops the box. John seizes it. Koahla breaks and runs away. John looks at the box in astonishment.
INSERT OF BOX showing initials “T.M.B”.
JOHN’S VOICE: (Excitedly) Wait till Chan sees this.
EXTERIOR REEF AND PALM
John and Carlotta start to run.
As revolver in man’s hand comes around the trunk of palm tree and two shots are fired.
SIDE OF HOTEL
Carlotta and John are hastening in its shadow, about to turn the corner of the building. The shots stop momentarily. Then John, quick as lightning, takes Carlotta’s arm and pulls her around the corner.
John has Carlotta in his arms.
JOHN: You’re not hurt?
CARLOTTA: You –
She takes hold of his arm. He looks down quickly.
INSERT OF JOHN’S ARM
Her hands are on it. We see a bullet hole through the coat.
EXTERIOR REEF AND PALM
JOHN: (Strangely exhilarated) It never touched me.
Carlotta sighs in great relief.
CARLOTTA: You might have been killed.
JOHN: Aw – hero’s always shot at – but never hit – because there has to be a happy ending. Now come on, let’s find Chan.
She looks up at him smiling anxiously.
CHAN’S VOICE: Already found. You were elected target for recent shot?
Both John and Barbara look up to veranda above.
They start up the steps.
VERANDA, REEF AND PALM
Moonlight on ocean and beach in back ground, Chan standing there calmly as they move hastily into scene.
JOHN: Never mind about the shots – this is more important. Remember the box I told you about that was stolen from me on the boat?
CHAN: Memory serves well.
JOHN: (Handing it to him triumphantly) Well here it is. I had a fight with Koahla and took it away from him.
CARLOTTA:He probably was the one who fired those shots. You ought to go after him.
CHAN: (Examining the box) He cannot get far. To conceal oneself from law is like trying to hide in bird cage.
John is observing Chan’s scrutiny of the box. It is locked.
JOHN: I wonder what’s in it.
CHAN: Shall gratify worthy curiosity.
He takes from his pocket a knife. Opens one of the blades which is a sharp delicate strip of steel, and picks the lock in an astonishingly short period of time. Chan looks in box, smiles.
CHAN: Look –
INSERT: INSIDE OF BOX
It is empty.
CHAN’S VOICE: – empty as Robin’s nest in January.
JOHN: (Slightly exasperated) Then why did Uncle Dan want me to dump it in the Pacific?
CHAN: Mr. Brade very best person to answer that question.
CARLOTTA: Brade? There’s a Mr. Brade is stopping in the hotel.
JOHN: (Excitedly) Here?
JOHN: Well let’s go in and see him at once.
CARLOTTA: Oh you can’t.
CARLOTTA: He’s gone away for a few days.
JOHN: Well let’s go after him!
CHAN: Make haste only when withdrawing hand from mouth of tiger. Now, humbly beg to be excused. I have engagement with Honorable Amos Winterslip.
He picks up box and bows.
JOHN: Do you want me to go with you?
CHAN: (Smiles) Humbly suggest you continue along present lines. (This, with ever so slight glance in Carlotta’s direction)
As Chan goes down steps, CAMERA PANS to include Chan’s Ford in back ground in driveway. He carries the box to the car – unlocks car – gets in and drives away.
John and Carlotta come to desk.
JOHN: Aren’t you afraid of being here all alone?
CARLOTTA: Why I hadn’t even thought about it.
JOHN: Well I have and I’m going to stay here – at least until your father gets back.
CARLOTTA: (Flustered; yet secretly gratified) Oh I wouldn’t dream of allowing it – really.
JOHN: This is a hotel, isn’t it?
John very calmly takes the pen from the holder and writes his name on the register.
JOHN: With bath, please.
Carlotta looks at him. She cannot refuse. Turning to the keyboard, she takes a key from it and hands it across the desk to him. John looks at the key.
CARLOTTA: Yes sir.
JOHN: Thank you.
CARLOTTA: Oh, you forgot to tell Chan about the check.
She walks behind the desk. He leans on it.
JOHN: (Smiling) Let me have it – I’ll catch him at Uncle Amos’.
She goes to the drawer where she has left the check and starts to open it. She is arrested by his speech in the act of opening the drawer.
INSERT OF OPEN DRAWER
Carlotta’s hand comes into the scene stirring the contents in search of the check.INTERIOR
Carlotta suddenly looks up at John in blank amazement.
CARLOTTA: Why it’s gone!
John leans over the desk as if to assure himself that the check is really gone. He then reaches across the desk with his left hand, taking her hand and pressing it with swift tenderness.
JOHN: Don’t you worry. I’ll tell Chan about it anyway.
John goes out.
EXTERIOR REEF AND PALM
John comes running down the stairway and hurries along the garden path.
ROAD NEAR AMOS’ HOUSE
Chan’s Ford is parked at the roadside. John comes along the road. He sees Chan’s Ford and is about to continue on when he hears the crackling of twigs under foot. John stops abruptly, looking in the direction of the noise.
JOHN: (Sharply) Chan!
CHAN’S VOICE: (From opposite direction) Here, please.
At the sound of Chan’s voice, John again turns his head. At the same moment, a figure darts out from back of Ford and starts running down the road. John dashes in pursuit.
JOHN: Stop there!
EXTERIOR ROAD NEAR AMOS’ FENCE
In the moonlight we see Chan stooping over some object on the ground. He now straightens and takes a step or two toward the CAMERA as if he is trying to locate John.
CHAN: (Calls) John!
Chan waits anxiously. In a moment, John appears, dragging the beachcomber.
BEACHCOMBER: You’ll be sorry for this. JOHN: I don’t know whether or not you want this man or not but from now on I’m –
John breaks off abruptly for Chan has moved to one side so that now John can see what was heretofore hidden from him.
CLOSE SHOT NEAR FENCE
The distorted corpse of Amos lying on the ground.
John is stunned, horrified.
JOHN: Uncle Amos!
As John moves involuntarily toward the body of Amos, Chan steps close to the
CHAN: I –
– seizes his wrist suddenly and holds it up.
– wrist watch.
INSERT OF BEACHCOMBER’S WRIST showing the wrist watch with the numeral two obscured.
Over the scene comes John’s voice:
JOHN’S VOICE: (Excitedly) That’s our man!
INTERIOR POLICE STATION – DAY
Chan is seated at desk, calmly writing on piece of paper. Hallett is pacing back and forth, very much upset.
HALLETT: I tell you, Charlie, they’re putting the thumbscrews on me. That Minerva Winterslip woman is raising the roof at the Governor General’s mansion. If we don’t get at the bottom of this right away, it means my stripes and your job.
Chan continues to write without looking up.
CHAN: I cannot hasten. Cat who tries to catch two mice at one time, goes without supper.
HALLETT: (Impatiently) I know – I know, Charlie. But the newspapers are on my tail.
CHAN: (Looks up, smiles) You can portion it out but cannot receive it, eh?
CHAN: You can portion it out but cannot receive it, eh?
He continues to write.
VERY CLOSE SHOT on Chan’s hand, writing list of the names of the suspects. He has already written:
Chan writes the name of “Arthur Temple Cope”.
Jennison is escorted in the office by a uniformed policeman. Chan looks up. Hallett nods curtly.
OFFICER: Mr. Jennison.
HALLETT: Yes, Mr. Jennison?
JENNISON: Good afternoon.
HALLETT: What can we do for you, Mr. Jennison?
JENNISON: I’ve come here as the late Mr. Winterslip’s attorney to protest against the way you’re handling this investigation.
CHAN: Unworthy officer apologizes for stupidity – so sorry.
JENNISON: Sorry? You’re going to be more than sorry if you don’t do something immediately. Do you realize that the President Tyler sails tomorrow morning with most of your suspects aboard?
HALLETT: Sure, we know – what do you expect us to do – stop the ship?
JENNISON: Certainly not. But I demand that you make every effort to arrest the guilty person before tomorrow – otherwise I’ll register a formal protest with the Governor General.
WINDOW OF ROOM HIGH UP
Through the bars stealthily comes a long narrow tube held in a man’s hand.
INTERIOR POLICE STATION
Chan rises, the piece of paper in his hand.
CHAN: If you will please see that these people are at Winterslip house tonight at eight-thirty, we shall do our very best. Have plan.
T. M. Brade
Arthur Temple Cope
As Chan finishes speaking, he hands the paper to toward Hallett. A dart flashes into the scene past Chan’s head, piercing the paper, and pinning it to the desk.
Quivering dart, stuck in desk through paper.
INTERIOR POLICE STATION
The three men look up in direction of window. There is no one there.
HALLET: (Speech indistinguishable)
CHAN: (Picking up dart) Enough poison on this to bring immediate death to all concerned.
Chan turns to Jennison.
CHAN: Very strange.
INTERIOR CHAN’S DINING ROOM
The entire family is at dinner. Chan looks at one of his sons admonishingly.
CHAN: Herbert, soup is food, not musical instrument.
HERBERT: Well, how about that saxophone you promised me?
CHAN: (Grimaces) Of both prefer musical soup.
HERBERT: Okay, Pop.
Chan rises. The whole family stands up respectfully. Chan turns to the eldest son on his right.
CHAN: Oswald –
OSWALD: What’s on your mind, Pa?
CHAN: You have carefully gone over instructions?
OSWALD: Oh, everything’s Jake.
CHAN: (Puzzled) Jake?
OSWALD: Yeah – okay.
CHAN: (Enlightened) Oh – okay.
During this, Mrs. Chan has left the room. She now re-enters, bringing Chan his hat.
MRS. CHAN: Will you be home early?
CHAN: Cannot tell.
MRS. CHAN: I wish good luck.
CHAN: Luck and help of inscrutable Fates extremely necessary. Tonight decide future. Tomorrow big detective or lowly laundry man.
EXTERIOR DAN’S HOUSE – NIGHT
The house is brightly lighted within. Bars of light sift through the venetian blinds on the veranda. We can hear the murmur of many voices from the inside. Carlotta comes up the garden path and, as she nears the door, Carlotta stops. John slips his arm about her protectingly.
JOHN: All right, officer.
CARLOTTA: I wouldn’t disturb you but – but it’s vitally important that I should be present at this investigation Something –
JOHN: But Chan left very strict orders – He only wants those who are on his list.
CARLOTTA: But after all, this is your house.
JOHN: Come on.
Carlotta braces herself and manages to smile. As they go into the house.
INTERIOR DAN’S LIVING ROOM – CLOSE SHOT AT DOOR
John and Carlotta enter, pause, their eyes travelling around the room.
INTERIOR LIVING ROOM
Chan sees Carlotta and John at door.
He indicates the direction with his hand, and John and Carlotta move across the room to sit with Minerva, Jennison and Barbara. Carlotta throws a fleeting smile of cheer in the direction of her father, who tries to smile back.
Chan looks over the entire room, searchingly, as he starts to talk, standing in front of table.
CHAN: You have all – except one – good excuse for much annoyance that I bring you here tonight. Humbly request patience, for though all are called, perhaps only one chosen.
INTERIOR LIVING ROOM – PAN SHOT AROUND ROOM
As we pick up each character, the voices of the others are heard, ad lib. CAMERA first PANS on BRADE.
CAMERA PANS as he turns, revealing Cope.CAMERA PANS to Arlene Compton, who turns and speaks, preening herself very much in the manner of an English grand dame.
ARLENE: Silly bores, these gatherings, what?
CAMERA PANS direction she is looking, revealing Steve, looking at her in open-mouthed astonishment.
STEVE: What the –
CAMERA SWINGS TO EAGAN; nervous, pleadingly hopeful in his gaze.
EAGAN: What it’s all about is what I wants to know.
CAMERA PANS, passing in succession the beachcomber, Koahla, the three policemen standing at the doors, Hallett and the doctor. CAMERA PANS FARTHER. MINERVA’S voice is heard just before the Camera picks her up, where she is sitting with Jennison and Barbara.
MINERVA: This is all poppycock, your bringing all these people in here. When I get back to the mainland I shall take this up with my senator, you may be sure.
As she reaches the end of her speech, CAMERA PANS to dining room door, and we see Charlie Chan standing there, listening with calm amusement to her speech.CLOSEUP CHAN’S HANDS as he opens the book and lays the exhibits out in orderly fashion on the table. His voice comes over the scene.
CHAN’S VOICE: I have before me evidence which show that every person in this room –
Chan pauses, and with a gesture toward the family group, adds:
CHAN: – except these five – (Pause) – saw Dan Winterslip or had reason to see him the night of murder.
CLOSE SHOT OF BRADE
Uneasily he takes out a cigarette and lights it.
CHAN’S VOICE: Mr. Brade –
Suddenly into the scene right front of Brade, comes the box. Brade starts nervously. CAMERA MOVES BACK far enough to include Chan, who is holding the box.
CHAN: – is this your box?
BRADE: I never saw it before in my life.
CHAN: These are your initials?
BRADE: Well, they were also my father’s, too.
CHAN: Humbly suggest you tell what you know of all this.
BRADE: I don’t know nothing. I came here to Hawaii to see Dan Winterslip to get by rights what is mine. Winterslip robbed my father when he was a mate on my father’s ship, thirty-five years ago. When my father died, he buried him in the South Seas, and stole his fortune ….South American gold and jewels. I was working in an export house in India till I was retired. For thirty years I scraped and saved to get enough money to come here and then I don’t even get a chance to see him.
CHAN: You did not see Dan Winterslip the night of murder?
BRADE: No, I did not – worse luck.
CHAN: You smoke Corsican cigarettes?
BRADE: Yes I do.
Picks up cigarette from desk.
CHAN: One was found on these grounds. It is a brand not sold on Islands.
BRADE: (Wildly) Well, I don’t know nothing about it. (Suddenly) Yes, I do. (He points off at Eagan)
The CAMERA PANS QUICKLY TO EAGAN, who looks startled and then PANS BACK to Chan and Brade again.
I gave Eagan here a couple because he said he was famished for a good, homey fag.
CHAN: Thank you so much.
As Chan goes out of the scene, the CAMERA ROLLS UP close on Cope, who is cooly smoking a cigarette.
CHAN’S VOICE: Mr. Cope?
COPE: (Suavely) Mr. Chan.
CHAN’S VOICE: You smoke Corsican cigarettes, also.
COPE: Quite right.
Chan comes into the scene speaking and holding two of the cigarette stubs.
CHAN: A most singular difference, however, is to be noticed in two brands of Corsicans – one extract of Virginian – other of Turkish influence. You favor Virginia.
COPE: (Nervously) What if I do?
CHAN: Mr. Brade smokes Turkish.
CHAN: Stub found on these grounds that night, Virginian. What were you doing here?
COPE: I wasn’t here that night.
CHAN: You can prove?
COPE: I went to bed early and read.
CHAN: Regret such alibis have habit of disappearing like cheese in vicinity of mouse.
MINERVA’S VOICE: Cheese and mouse – fiddlesticks.
The CAMERA SWINGS to Minerva who sits indignantly erect in her chair.
Captain Cope had tea with me here that afternoon.
CHAN’S VOICE: Much time saved if honorable lady not so secretive with important information.
MINERVA: Whom I have tea with is my own affair.
CAMERA SWINGS BACK to Chan and Cope.
CHAN: We are still in most complete fog concerning your business on Island.
COPE: (Determinedly) Well, sir, if you really must know, I’ve –
Cope sits straighter in his chair and involuntarily looks off at Eagan.
THE CAMERA SWINGS TO EAGAN, who quickly and pleadingly shakes his head, then CAMERA SWINGS BACK TO COPE AND CHAN AGAIN as Cope stops abruptly. Chan, however, has caught the business.
CHAN: Humbly beg you continue.
COPE: (Leaning back in chair) I’ve nothing more to say.
CHAN: More later. Thank you so much.
As Chan turns from Cope.
CHAN: Now this is –
CLOSEUP OF BROOCH in Chan’s fingers. Over the scene comes Arlene Compton’s voice.
ARLENE’S VOICE: Yeah, that’s my brooch all right.
As Arlene claims the brooch, Brade rises, comes over and looks at it.
BRADE: Hers, nothing. That brooch is part of a set that belongs to my family. There’s a necklace and earrings that go with it.
Chan waves him back to his chair.
CHAN: Kindly wait until asked.
Brade retreats himself and Chan approaches Arlene.
ARLENE AND STEVE
She sees that she is to be the next one.
ARLENE: Now, listen, you Chinese rainmaker, I don’t know nothing about it.
STEVE: (Under his breath) Let him do the talking, you dummy.
Chan comes into scene.
CHAN: (Interrupting) Woman’s tongue like sword that never gets rusty.
Arlene turns to Chan as if she has suddenly decided to take him into her confidence.
ARLENE: Okay. Just for that I’ll tell you everything I know, which is nothing. (She draws a long breath) I was here that night. I told you before – (Balance of speech drowned out by Steve’s Voice)
STEVE: Get wise to yourself, Chan. Why should she kill him? He was worth more to her alive than dead, wasn’t he?
CHAN: To you also?
STEVE: No cracks from you. (To Arlene) Come on, Babe, I guess we can scram now.
They start up.
CHAN: (Firmly) When I say go.
They hesitate, then resume their seats. As they do so, Chan turns.
CHAN: Mr. Eagan –
He walks out of the scene.
MEDIUM CLOSE SHOT ON EAGAN
He is pathetically apprehensive. Chan comes to him. In he hand hanging close to his side, Chan holds the $5,000 check.
– you still stubbornly determined not to tell us the nature of your business the night you saw Mr. Winterslip?
EAGAN: (Hesitantly) Yes.
CHAN: Perhaps you will explain why he give you this?
He holds up the check.
INSERT CHECK AS BEFORE
Security National Trust and Savings Bank #392
Savings and Commercial Trust
Honolulu, T.H. 7-20-1933
Pay to the order of Mr. James Eagan ………………………$5000.00
Five thousand & no/100 dollars.
Eagan starts violently, then he flashes a quick look off at Carlotta.
Carlotta with John on edge of shot. She is looking anxiously off at her father, hoping he will say something to clear himself.
EAGAN AND CHAN
Eagan lowers his eyes and makes no reply.
CHAN: Regret that without adequate explanation will have to hold. Very often circumstantial evidence carry conviction.
This is said as a veiled threat to urge Eagan to speak. But Eagan remains silent. Chan turns and walks away.
MEDIUM FULL SHOT
Chan crosses to table near which Hallett is seated.
CHAN: Advise that he be taken into custody.
He starts for Eagan.
CARLOTTA: (Rising quickly) No!
All eyes turn to Carlotta. She advances to Cope.
Why don’t you say something? Why don’t you tell what you know?
She stamps her foot.
You and your proud family! Well, I haven’t got that kind of pride. I haven’t any pride when my own father’s in trouble.
Eagan jumps up.
EAGAN: Carlotta, dear.
She turns to him.
CARLOTTA: I know all about it, Dad, In my efforts to try and find something that might help you, I went through your papers and tonight I came across your old diary. Thirty-five years ago, my father was a teller in a bank in Australia. One day a man walked in with a bag of foreign gold and changed it into Australian money. It was unusual. So much South American gold was rarely seen in those days. My father wrote the transaction in his diary and he never forgot the face of the man. He is the only living person who could have identified Mr. Winterslip as the man who had Brade’s gold.
She pauses and looks defiantly around her. She looks at John pitifully, beseeching him with her eyes.
So when I found this diary I knew that he had blackmailed Mr. Winterslip into paying for his silence.
Eagan lifts his shamed face.
EAGAN: I was going to use the money to send you back to England to my family.
Carlotta goes to him and puts her arm around him.
CARLOTTA: But I don’t want to go to your family. They weren’t interested in us before and I’m not interested in them now.
Cope comes to her in a kindly way.
COPE: My dear, you mustn’t judge us too harshly. I came here for the express purpose of taking him home, too.
CHAN: Excuse please. You take him home?
COPE: I am his older brother.
CHAN: Clues explode in embarrassed face like loaded cigar.
MINERVA: (Interrupts) But I can’t understand this ridiculous inquiry. (She points to the beachcomber) Why don’t you arrest that man?She indicates Koahla. Chan walks over to beachcomber, he has the watch in his hand.
CHAN: You were caught in vicinity of Amos Winterslip’s body wearing this watch on your wrist. It is doubtless fact that same person commit both murders. We know man who kill Dan Winterslip wear this watch.
BEACHCOMBER: (Excitedly) I told you I found it in the water.
BEACHCOMBER: I don’t remember.
CHAN: More later.
He goes to table and picks up box. He then goes to Koahla.
CHAN: You miserable boy, speak. If not, rest of your unworthy life will be spent on rock pile.
KOAHLA: (Thoroughly frightened) Know nothing of murder. One day see Mr. Winterslip reading paper about Mr. Brade coming to Hawaii. Much excited. I go there many times to San Francisco house and know of box in trunk in attic. Ask friend on boat to go there quick and get for me.
CHAN: So you can blackmail? (To policeman) Take him away.
Koahla is taken out.
(Turns to Brade) Mr. Brade, you say this belonged to your father? (Shows him the brooch)
CHAN: (With box in other hand) This also?
BRADE: I don’t know but them were his initials.
CLOSE SHOT OF OPEN BOX in Chan’s hand. Chan presses a hidden spring, and the bottom of the box shoots forward, revealing a narrow secret drawer, in which we see earrings and a necklace of the same peculiar design as the brooch.
BACK TO SCENE
BRADE: (Excitedly) That’s them. That proves it.
CHAN: Precisely. You came here that night to claim what was rightfully yours, and when Mr. Winterslip refuse, you –
BRADE: (Frightened) No – no, I tell you –
(CONFUSION OF VOICES)
At this moment a loud commotion is heard just outside. Everyone keyed up to a high pitch of excitement shows extreme uneasiness. Now we see a struggle in the doorway between three men. We recognize Chan’s two elder sons, each firmly grasping a struggling figure.
MEDIUM CLOSE SHOT FAMILY GROUP
They are watching this struggle tensely. Suddenly Barbara gasps with astonishment.
VOICE: Come on – come on! What’s the gag?
BARBARA: Why, that’s Mr. Berkeley.
JENNISON: (Amazed) Berkeley!
MINERVA: (Excitedly) Who’s he?
JOHN: He came over on the boat with us.
ANOTHER ANGLE – INTERIOR ROOM
Chan stands at the table confronting Berkeley, who is flanked on either side by Chan’s sons.
OSWALD: Okay Pop?
CHAN: Extremely Jake. Thank you so much.
The boys drop back, leaving Chan and Berkeley facing each other. Berkeley is a little breathless and is arranging his disordered tie, etc.
BERKELEY: This is an outrage!
INSERT: Chan’s hand picking up the piece of seaweed from the table.
CHAN: The night of the murder I find this marine vegetation fresh in this room. Also did I observe signs of sea water on carpet. A strong swimmer could have left steamship President Tyler, come into this room, and return to ship. (Dramatically pointing to Berkeley) You murdered Dan and Amos Winterslip.
There is a gasp of amazement from everyone.
BERKELEY: Well you’ll never get me alive!
He looks around wildly. Chan takes out a gun. Berkeley makes a break for the door. The women scream.
VOICE: Don’t let him get away!
Jennison leaps for Berkeley, seizing him from behind, and although much smaller than Berkeley, we see that by a quick maneuver he throws the man on his back. Berkeley gives a cry of pain. Chan puts the gun on the table and comes to them quickly.
BERKELEY: (Groaning) Oh my arm – oh!
The doctor hastens over and stoops beside Berkeley, quickly examining his arm.
Chan seizes hold of Jennison.
CHAN: Thank you so much, Mr. Jennison. I accuse you of the murders of Dan and Amos Winterslip.
JENNISON: (Faltering) You’re crazy – absolutely crazy.
BARBARA: But Mr. Berkeley.
CHAN: (Facing the room) Mr. Berkeley a Federal Agent here on business. He has heroically offered to play part for me. Please take good care. Thank you so much
BARBARA: (Cries) But Harry couldn’t have killed father.
CHAN: (To Barbara) When on ship you sent wireless to your father, announcing intention to marry.
CHAN: But you did not see reply your father sent to Mr. Jennison.
CHAN: (Takes copy from pocket) Cable office graciously supply copy of same.
He hands the wire to her. She reads.
INSERT: WIRELESS IN BARBARA’S HANDS
345 -P August 12
S.S. President Tyler.
Manage to break your engagement with Barbara or
will completely disinherit her. If not will
expose you, regardless of damage to me.
BACK TO SCENE
BARBARA: (Breaks down) I don’t believe it.
JENNISON: The very idea is ridiculous.
CHAN: (To Jennison) It was not difficult to discover your record as champion swimmer and student of dishonorable jiu jitsu. You killed Dan Winterslip – you killed Mr. Amos, fearing he expose you when he go over papers. Also, we find native you hired to blow poison dart in police station.
MINERVA: Fantastic! What about the wrist watch?
During this, two policemen have come into scene and stand on either side of Jennison. Chan goes to the table, puts his gun down, and picks up the watch, which is square in shape. He comes back to Jennison and lifting his arm, pushes back his cuff.
CLOSEUP OF JENNISON’S WRIST wearing a large round wrist watch.
CHAN’S VOICE: Kindly remove wrist watch.
The hands of the policeman come into the shot, and the wrist watch is taken off.
CHAN’S VOICE: You will notice that although this man wear square wrist watch, sunburned impression is round, fitting this watch.
During this speech Chan suits his action to his words. We see his fingers fitting the round wrist watch over the space where it has formerly rested, and where it fits exactly.
CHAN: Losing wrist watch most untimely.
Jennison looks quickly in direction of Barbara, who looks at him, gives a low cry and collapses. Minerva hastens to her. Chan also bends down to Barbara.
CHAN: Am most sorrowful for you. Sometimes sad world. Baby cries when born.
Jennison, taking advantage of this unexpected event, sees the revolver Chan has placed on table. He dives for it, turns and holds the room at bay. Everyone shrinks back, but Chan, who walks calmly toward him.
JENNISON: Stick them up! Stick them up! Keep back! Keep back!
Chan continues to walk toward him. Jennison, desperate, pulls the trigger. There is a click, nothing more.
CHAN: (Smiles grimly) Empty gun only kill guilty man. Take him away. Extremely Jake.
Chan turns to assemblage.
CHAN: Thank you so much.
INTERIOR CHAN’S HOUSE — NIGHT
In front of house stands a brand new Ford touring car. Suddenly from within comes a commotion. The front door opens, and out streams Chan’s entire family, shouting gleefully, and piling into the car. The youngsters fight for the front seat with Chan, ad libbing…. “I want to sit with Pop” — “He promised me”, etc. Mrs. Chan comes into scene with the youngest, followed by Chan beaming happily. Mrs. Chan takes the front seat without a word. Chan looks at his wife.
CHILDREN: Oh boy, what a car.
CHAN: Inscrutable Fates prompt Miss Minerva Winterslip generously to reward my humble services with new car. We shall now attest its efficiency.
CHAN: Get in. You like new car? All right?
Car drives off.
EXTERIOR DAN’S GARDEN
Near wall. Carlotta and John.
JOHN: This is where the hero takes the heroine in his arms.
CARLOTTA: And they live happily everafter.
GARDEN OTHER ANGLE
Near driveway. Chan’s Ford rolls into scene. Car stops and Chan looks off and indicates to others what he sees.
The shadows of John and Carlotta are seen merging in an embrace.
CHAN’S VOICE: Look. Observe happy phenomenon.
BACK TO SCENE OF CHAN
MRS. CHAN: Yes. Two lovers in moonlight cast only one shadow.
Chan looks at her, then at all his children.
CHAN: Yes. One shadow now – many shadows later.
Then he tries starter fearfully, it responds immediately, much to his satisfaction, and car drives away as we