Tuesday, 19 March 2013

MARCH 18, 2013

063 DARK ALIBI (1946) Directed by Phil Karlson ***

This was one of the Chan films made by Monogram after Fox sold the rights. It is also the fourth from last in the series and Sidney Toler was already showing signs strain caused by the ill health that would kill him the following year. Supposedly the budgets a Monogram were smaller but it doesn't really show here and the script is really good despite the fact I spotted the main culprit as soon as he appeared. Instead as Victoy Sen Yung as No.2 son we have Benson Fong as Tommy Chan and to raise the comedy relief level we have the great black comedian Mantan Moreland. Moreland is always a joy to watch and is more than capable of carrying a film on his own. The idea was probably to take some of the pressure off the ailing Toler but for once it doesn't look like padding and Mantan even gets to do three very clever patter routines with fellow black actor Ben Carter. Carter actually receives third billing on the credits but sadly it would be his last film as he died of diphtheria in soon after the film was released. As an added treat Toler actually joins in the last of the patter routines. Direction is handled by the excellent Phil Karlson.

Dark Alibi

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