34 user 9 critic

The Scarlet Clue (1945)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 11 May 1945 (USA)
Charlie discovers a scheme for the theft of government radar plans while investigating several murders.


Phil Rosen


George Callahan (original screenplay), Earl Derr Biggers (based on the character created by)


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Complete credited cast:
Sidney Toler ... Charlie Chan
Mantan Moreland ... Birmingham Brown
Ben Carter ... Ben Carter
Benson Fong ... Tommy Chan
Virginia Brissac ... Mrs. Marsh
Robert Homans ... Capt. Flynn (as Robert E. Homans)
Jack Norton ... Willie Rand
Janet Shaw ... Gloria Bayne
Helen Deverell Helen Deverell ... Diane Hall (as Helen Devereaux)
Victoria Faust Victoria Faust ... Hulda Swenson


Charlie Chan investigates the theft of government radar papers (the laboratory is located in the same building as a radio station!) with the help of Number Three Son Tommy and comic sidekick Birmingham Brown. Written by Marty McKee <mmckee@wkio.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »


Official Sites:






Release Date:

11 May 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Charlie Chan in the Scarlet Clue See more »


Box Office


$75,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Monogram Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film was first telecast in New York City Thursday 17 June 1948 on WCBS (Channel 2), in Cincinnati Tuesday 6 December 1949 on WKRC (Channel 11), and in Los Angeles Monday 2 January 1950 on KTLA (Channel 5). See more »


Charlie tells the police chemist to blow the cigarette smoke into the beaker. It is not a beaker, but an Erlenmeyer flask the smoke is blown into it, while all are in the police laboratory. See more »


Charlie Chan: Someone would have us believe victim fall eight stories up.
See more »


Follows The House Without a Key (1926) See more »

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User Reviews

The Radio Spy Ring
11 June 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The Scarlet Clue finds our intrepid oriental detective Charlie Chan now working for the federal government on a spy case. He's trailing a suspect, but when Sidney Toler requests help from the local police, they bungle it and the suspect winds up dead. He certainly now can't help Toler find who's behind the plot to steal radar secrets.

But the roads seem to lead to a local radio station with a whole bunch of suspects from ham actors, to shifty technicians, and an owner who's right out of Rebecca. A few more murders occur before we find out who the master spy is.

Charlie is now breaking in number 3 son Benson Fong and if possible he's a bigger dunce and hence a bigger foil for Charlie's fortune cookie wisdom than before. By now Mantan Moreland as chauffeur Birmingham Brown has joined the series and his stereotypical role is one reason the series doesn't get much air now. But one thing this film does do is feature Ben Carter who worked a nightclub act with Moreland and two of their routines get into the film. They're pretty funny I will say.

What I also found fascinating here is that since this film was made in 1945, made for Monogram and hence made in a matter of days, I'm not sure whether the folks behind the spy ring are Communists or Nazis. It was left vague and I'm certain that was done deliberately.

So you might want to see the film and see if you can figure out who was running the radio spy ring.

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