Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum (1940) Movie Script

For a most brutal murder,
instigated by robbery
a murder where of you,
Stephen McBirney...
stand convicted after
a fair trial by jury
it is the judgment of this court...
that you are hereby sentenced
to the punishment of death...
to be executed upon you
at Sing Sing Prison...
during the week of December ninth.
December ninth.
Thanks, Judge.
I won't have to do
any Christmas shopping.
And thank you, Mr. Chan,
for what His Honor just handed me.
Your evidence sticks me
in the death house.
And I won't forget it
while I'm alive.
Come on, Mac.
Threats won't help your appeal.
[Spectators Chattering]
Well, Charlie,
you put him where he belongs.
- I hope you don't let his threats keep you awake.
- On contrary.
Conviction of most dangerous
public enemy...
bring more peaceful sleep.
- [Judge] What's that shooting?
- McBirney!
Grabbed a deputy's gun
shooting his way out.
[Gunfire Continues]
[Ship Horns Blowing In Distance]
- We gonna stay here all night?
- Take it easy.
Bus leaving right away.
Next stop Chinatown.
Come on, everybody. Step smart.
Bus leaving right away.
Next stop Chinatown:
The mysterious Orient in the heart of New York.
- Shake a leg, folks. Step right this way, folks.
- [Engine Idling]
Step fast and you'll see Chinatown
before she goes to bed.
Let's go, Bill.
[Ship Horns Blowing]
[Woman Screams]
You've got an awful nerve asking me to marry you
in that Chamber of Horrors.
What do you think marriage is anyway?
- Where's Doc Cream?
- Can't you read? We're closed for the night.
- You can't come in.
- Yeah, yeah, I know. But where is he?
He's busy.
Says he don't wanna be bothered.
That's only a dummy, you dummy.
Come on.
You can't go in there.
Watch this carefully.
This is a difficult
but brilliant move.
You can't beat it.
[Machinery Creaking]
Why, that's splendid.
I was not prepared for that.
But watch this one.
Hey, is he playing chess
with that dummy, or am I crazy?
Why, that's checkmate.
You've got me.
Hello, Doc.
What's the idea?
Oh, a little lesson in strategy.
I was coaching my protge.
So you're the works.
A mechanical woman.
Gentlemen, my assistant
Miss Latimer.
I'm glad to know ya, babe.
Why, Lily, my dear,
don't you recognize Steve McBirney?
He's been with us for years.
The little boy
from New York's Hell's Kitchen...
who went out West
and made good in Chicago.
Gee, Mac, it's you.
And Butcher Dagan.
He wasn't that beautiful
when they fished him outta Lake Michigan
with the 13 bullets
you pumped into him.
Hope you never double-cross me, Doc.
- Well, Mac, I'm no fool.
- That's what I hear.
Well, you got a great racket
a wax museum on top
of the sweetest hideout the mob's ever had.
No wonder the cops never bother you.
You know, Grenock,
that doc is smart.
He makes faces behind their backs.
- Do you ever see the faces he makes?
- Oh, this wax stuff is okay.
No, no.
Before he operated on the law...
he was the best facial surgeon
in the country.
- A face doctor?
- Sure.
Well, Doc, it's my turn now.
Change this map.
Fix it so no cop will ever know me.
Well, that would be easy, Mac.
But why not come back in a month
when this getaway has blown over?
Oh, no.
You start the job now, tonight.
Lily, you'd better go downstairs
and prepare things for an operation.
Hey, what's her angle?
- She's my assistant in surgery too.
- Oh.
Uh, follow me.
Of course, you realize
that you'll have to hang out here...
for two or three weeks
after the surgery.
Well, swell.
I can use the rest.
You know them, Joe?
That was Steve McBirney just come in. He
Joe. I'm forgettin'.
Why-Why, Steve's your pal.
Sure. Didn't he knock off Butcher Dagan
for framin' you?
I remember.
That's what I call a real pal, Joe.
So this is the Chamber of Horrors?
Spooky joint.
I'd sure hate to be found dead in it.
Is this where you operate, Doc?
Oh, no.
Just an exhibit in there.
That's a genuine electric chair.
Still in use two years ago.
109 murderers met death on it.
Well, I had a date with his brother,
thanks to Charlie Chan.
Hey, Mac, get a load
the real thing.
That's the switchboard for the museum.
It serves as atmosphere here.
But it's practical.
Say, Doc, you're the one practical thing
around here for me.
I want the best face
you ever made
just so's I can walk up
to Chan and say...
"Hiya, Charlie,"
before I let him have it.
- Yeah. And won't that copper be surprised?
- [Laughs]
Charlie, do you mean to tell me
you've never been surprised in your life?
Only one occasion, Inspector
- when honorable wife announce
arrival of 13th offspring.
- [Chuckles]
Always prefer to utilize
element of surprise...
never to be victim.
Well, I wish I could say that.
Haven't gotten over McBirney's
little courtroom surprise yet.
Three weeks ago yesterday.
He must have gotten out of town,
or we'd have him.
Only very foolish mouse
make nest in cat's ear.
Hello, Pop, Inspector.
Hope I'm not interrupting.
- Hello, Mary. Who let you in?
- AskJimmy. He's our scout leader.
Mary Bolton reporter and pest,
Daily Record.
- How do you do, Mr. Chan?
- Hiya, Doctor.
Charlie, this is Dr. Cream
of the Cream Crime Museum.
I'm very happy to meet you,
Mr. Chan.
- Oh, Inspector, this is Dr. Bun.
- Von Brom!
Herr Doctor Otto Von Brom.
Formerly with the Berlin Police Department.
Today I specialize
in the psychocriminology.
Well, as one cop to another, Doctor,
what's that?
Detective who uses microscope
instead of common sense.
Please, allow parent
to make Confucius saying.
So, Mr. Chan, you do not believe...
in the scientific methods
for apprehending criminals, eh?
Any powder that kills flea
is good powder.
Now, can law student
explain crime of playing hooky?
Well, I didn't mean
to cut classes, Pop.
But they Miss Bolton and Dr. Cream
came up to college with a great idea.
Pop, you're going into radio on the Crime League
broadcast from the Museum of Crime.
This is all Dr. Cream's idea,
and a swell yarn for me.
But you confer first
with chip off old chopstick?
Only because I remembered where to find Jimmy
when we couldn't locate you today.
You see, each week,
we have a famous detective...
who tries to unravel
some old, unsolved crime.
On tonight's broadcast,
we had hoped that you and Dr. Von Brom...
might throw some new light
on the Rocke case.
Yeah. Isn't that a swell idea?
Let honor of advertising museum
go to scientific detective.
Tomorrow, parent depart
for Honolulu.
Tonight, same prefer good dinner
to ancient crime.
Excuse, please.
But, Mr. Chan.
This is your favorite unsolved crime.
Do you recognize this man?
Likeness ofJoseph Rocke.
Innocent man hang for crime
he did not commit.
Real murderer never caught.
This is an insult to my ability.
Once before,
you made such a statement.
Joe Rocke was convicted
on my scientific evidence.
- How dare you insinuate
- Now, boys, don't get violent.
People have been arguing for years
over whetherJoe Rocke fired that poison dart.
You could settle it tonight
on my broadcast.
Sorry. Must decline.
Ach. Surely, you're not afraid...
to cross the wits
with my logic and science.
Perhaps you leave the town
because of Steve McBirney's threats, ja?
My pop don't run away from anybody.
But it might look that way
if you don't accept this challenge.
- What'll I tell the fellas in my class?
- Challenge?
Dr. Cream make same in presence
of offspring's classmates?
Yeah, and I accepted for you.
I'm sorry you're turning us down,
Mr. Chan.
It would be an unusual
experience for you.
You most anxious for humble presence
at broadcast tonight.
It's a question of showmanship.
I know what the public wants.
Will imitate woman and change mind.
Most happy to accept
unusual radio invitation.
- Splendid, Mr. Chan.
- This is news. Thank you, Mr. Chan.
You be there at 8:00.
We go on at 8:15.
- I'll be there.
- So long.
I'll be there too, Pop,
in case you need any help.
Contradiction, please.
At 8:00, young legal sprout...
have date for lecture
on Old Roman law.
- No hooky.
- Okay, no hooky.
Say, Charlie, you certainly
changed your mind in a hurry.
I'd have given odds you wouldn't go
for that phony challenge.
Correction, please.
Challenge may solve more
than Rocke case tonight.
Dr. Cream once famous surgeon.
Now friend of many criminals...
like Steve McBirney.
- What's on your mind, Pop?
- Yeah. Come clean.
Possible McBirney
visit doctor for perfect disguise.
Underworld once whispered
his former partner, Butcher Dagan...
receive same from Dr. Cream
a new face.
Well, he wasn't wearing it
when they found his body.
- Say, what are you driving at?
- Perhaps wrong man found and buried.
Faceless body in water three months.
Have long suspected Butcher Dagan,
ruthless killer...
not dead, but still alive...
and hiding behind face
created by Dr. Cream.
Perhaps worthy doctor have secret purpose
behind challenge tonight.
You think Cream's coming here
has something to do with McBirney.
- A trap.
- Knowledge only gained through curiosity.
I think I'll catch your act tonight, Charlie.
- In fact, I'll go with you.
- No, please.
Mice only play
when cat supposed to be in bed.
[Thunder Rumbling]
The mother, the son...
and the music teacher
correctly seated
at the fatal breakfast table...
that sentJoe Rocke to the gallows.
We'll be seated that way tonight.
My pal.
And he sits right there.
- [Object Clatters]
- [McBirney] Hey, you.
Don't touch that.
You'll get burnt to a crisp.
Dr. Cream, I didn't do this.
- I wouldn't. It's dangerous.
- Shut up and get out of here.
- Come on. Get out.
- Mac.
Don't go through with this insane plan.
It'll ruin me.
Oh, it can't.
It's all part of a gag
that goes wrong.
Crazy Willie there
rigs up an electric chair.
He puts too much heat on,
and someone gets hurt.
No cop will ever believe that one.
Well, what are you
gonna do about it?
You queer this
and you're both through.
- Don't get excited. We're all in it with you.
- No choice.
It's about time Grenock
got down off that pole.
[Thunder Continues]
You know, listening to the broadcast
week after week...
give me the idea.
Von Brom, the old Rocke case.
The one case Chan would go for.
And that phony challenge got him.
Now all we have to do is to wait
for Chan to be seated comfortably.
- [Footsteps]
- Okay?
Yeah. She's hooked up
to the switchboard now.
Just tapped 2,300 volts
from that high tension line.
- Now, it can't fail?
- Not a chance.
If you'll please excuse me.
You can't go through with this.
It'll ruin everything this place, your racket.
What can I do?
It may turn out the way he says.
- You know it can't.
- My throat, it's very dry.
[Door Closes]
[Loud Thunderclap]
[Tapping On Glass]
- Am I too late?
- We're closed up, ma'am.
But you said you'd let me in.
You told me Dr. Von Brom was coming.
Oh, I I forget.
I thought you were
Joe Rocke's friend.
I am. I am.
He's my pal.
Then... give him this.
Oh, no, no.
I never touch those things.
You know he needs
protection tonight.
- He's in great danger.
- Yeah. That's right.
You can't letJoe down.
Uh, you take it to him.
No, no. Not that way.
This way. This way.
Use the upstairs way
and then go right home.
I understand.
Gotta make my rounds and
Where's my clock?
[Rain Pouring]
Bad night, ain't it, Frank?
You know about people.
They open windows and they never close 'em.
Who did that?
- Who did that?
- [Thunderclap]
[Door Closes]
[Room Door Hinges Creak]
[Hollow Knock]
[Hollow Knock]
- Lily, you wanna give me a test?
- Sure.
One, two, three.
- One, two, three. Testing.
- Okay.
The Crime Museum
is honored by your visit, Mr. Chan.
Of course, you recollect the tragedy
of the Broadway Butterfly.
Here are some more
of my wax creations.
This is Jack the Ripper,
London's mystery murderer of the year 1888.
He was never caught.
And here we have Henry Dsir Landru...
the Bluebeard of Paris.
They say that he destroyed 40 women
in that very same stove.
Excellent likeness.
Oh. Here's Mr. Agnew now.
Well, we're all ready downtown
for Charlie Chan.
I'm nearly ready here.
- Mr. Tom Agnew, the director
and announcer of our program.
- Glad to know you, sir.
- [Cream] Miss Latimer, my assistant.
- Miss Latimer.
How do you do, Mr. Chan?
And Mr. Edwards, our engineer.
- Is Mary here yet?
- She's with Dr. Von Brom, looking at the exhibits.
Von Brom?
You didn't tell me he was in this show.
Sort of a last-minute idea.
I didn't come prepared
to handle two masterminds.
I'm sorry, Tom. I phoned to tell you,
but you weren't in.
[Von Brom, Laughing]
Ach, liebes Frulein.
Do I know these men?
This is the Butcher Dagan.
I see him in Chicago many years ago.
I have a photographic memory.
My eyes, they never forget
anything they see once
you know, uh the, uh, face,
the shape of the head.
It is my scientific training.
- Wasn't he killed many years ago?
- Ja. Murdered.
My friends, good evening.
Mr. Chan, I'm here.
- Delighted, Dr. Von Brom.
- We are ready, ja?
- Looks like we'll have a swell show tonight.
- Sure.
That is if the two bloodhounds
bite each other.
- How about supper later?
- I'd love it.
Well, gentlemen,
we go in 12 minutes.
- Is everyone ready?
- I'm ready.
I am famous for this case.
The doctor. The doctor's voice.
Well, Doctor and Mr. Chan, we hope
you settle the Rocke case tonight.
The Rocke case?
I thought we were doing the Gradley case.
- I'm sorry. It's all my fault.
- I have no notes on Rocke.
I have.
I'll get them for you.
Mr. Agnew, I will help.
I solved this case years ago.
Old solution, Doctor,
sometimes like ancient egg.
Since I do the interview, I'd like your slant,
Mr. Chanwhat questions to ask.
Joe Rocke unjustly punished
for crime committed by Butcher Dagan.
- Hmm. He sounds like an eyewitness.
- Excuse, please.
I never saw Dagan.
My theory simply based on evidence
already supplied by Dr. Von Brom.
- Oh! [Scoffs]
- How do you mean?
Dagan and McBirney
partners many years ago.
Also partners with Joe Rocke
in honest enterprise.
Rocke honorable man
unaware colleagues were criminals.
Like freak of nature, McBirney
although brutal killer
have almost brotherly affection
for Rocke.
But Dagan true child of Cain
hate him.
To acquire business, he cause Rocke to be
suspected of murder he did not commit.
- An innocent man was hung?
- Brother McBirney had his revenge.
- I read that he killed Dagan.
- He got what was coming to him.
Same believed by many persons.
But electric chair now await McBirney
for more recent crimes.
McBirney ought to get a vote of thanks.
He's got mine.
You knew Dagan?
Oh, no.
I mean, according to your story.
If it's true,
he got what he deserved.
Excuse, please.
May see sore finger?
Oh, it's just a scratch.
I I'll live.
Wound very odd.
And recent.
I caught it on Dr. Cream's desk,
in the office.
Beware of infection.
What a yarn.
Mr. Chan, if you can prove Dagan's guilt
Dagan won't mind.
He's dead.
Justice can be brought to dead men.
[Snaps Fingers]
Ja. It is possible.
Joe Rocke Maybe he's not guilty.
But I proved that once.
And I'll prove something else too.
- Now. Tonight.
- [Buzzing]
Quiet, please.
The studio's checking the trunk line.
Testing. One, two, three, four.
One, two, three, four.
- [Buzzing]
- They're ready downtown. We go in two minutes.
I can't help that. I've got business here.
- You can't break in here like this. Get out.
- I've got to see Dr. Cream.
- I'm Dr. Cream. What is it?
- My name is Lane Carter Lane.
Representing Mrs. Rocke.
- Joe Rocke's wife?
- Yes.
- Is she here?
- Why would she come here?
We heard about the broadcast,
and it must not be made.
- She doesn't want this Rocke case discussed.
- Why not? What is she afraid of?
and rather painful memories.
- He can't stop us.
- We are within our rights, Mr. Lane.
A suit for damages
will determine that.
Don't let him scare you. He's afraid of what
Dr. Von Brom and Mr. Chan have turned up.
What do you mean?
It is imperative the broadcast is made.
One clue I did not understand,
tonight she's clear.
I will tell everything aboutJoe Rocke
To the radio, I will tell the police
where to find the real murderer.
That's why Mr. Lane is here
to prevent you from telling.
You know, you're very beautiful,
but you're just a little crazy.
- Stand by, everybody.
- Uh, take your places, please.
Now we are seated as the family was gathered
at the fatal breakfast table.
Mary, you sit down there.
Lily, you sit there.
- Mr. Chan
- Uh, I I sit here.
Mr. Chan sits here.
[Thunder Rumbles]
Dr. Cream, is this correct?
Little Otto wants a seat of honor too?
Truth speak from any chair.
We're on now.
Quiet, please.
[Dramatic Intonation]
Crime is always punished.
[Normal Voice]
Good evening, folks.
This is Tom Agnew
bringing you The Crime League...
through the courtesy
of the Murphy Arms Company.
We are gathered
for our 13th weekly broadcast...
in Dr. Cream's extraordinary
Museum of Crime...
an educational institution.
Hey. There he is now.
All right.
Tell him exactly what I told you.
- [Door Closes]
- Hey. What are you doin' in here?
Hello, Willie. Don't you know me?
I'm the new warden.
Oh. I'm sorry, Warden.
For a second, I didn't place you.
Uh-huh. Oh, by the way, do you believe
in capital punishment?
- You mean killin' murderers?
- Uh-huh.
- Sure.
- Fine, fine.
Would you be willing to serve the state
in executing a criminal?
- Would I? You bet.
- Good.
Then I hereby appoint you
chief executioner of this prison.
You mean I can hang the Reno Kid
and guillotine the Bluebeard of Paris?
Sure, sure. But first you gotta begin
with an electrocution.
- I'll do my duty.
- You know how to work this thing?
Yeah. When you get a signal,
you push up.
Well, never mind the signal.
You see that clock?
- At 8:20 at exactly 8:20
- Mmm.
I want you to throw that switch
and electrocute that man.
- Yes, sir.
- Okay.
[Thunder Rumbling]
Sorry to see you go, pal.
[Tom] And now Dr. Otto Von Brom,
the famous criminologist...
and Charlie Chan will attempt to prove
the innocence or guilt ofJoe Rocke.
We were seated at the breakfast table,
June the 9th, 1929...
as demonstrated in court.
It was a happy family gathering.
Gentlemen, this seating is incorrect.
- I should sit there in that chair.
- [Cream] No. No, Doctor.
- But I insist.
- As you please, Doctor.
Every bird seek its own tree.
Never tree the bird.
Stop him quick.
- [Thunderclap]
- [Mary Screams]
- [Electricity Crackling]
- Who turned the lights off?
[Lane] There's something burning
behind Dr. Von Brom's chair!
[Tom] Stand by, folks. The storm seems
to have taken the light off our mystery.
- [Lane] I tell you there's a fire!
- [Mary] Yes. I see it.
Doctor! Doctor Von Brom!
What is it, Doctor?
[Hand Hits Table]
- He's fainted.
- Gentlemen, carry him over here, please.
Right here.
- Why, he's dead.
- There's a wire connected to that chair.
That's what caused the flash.
The doctor was electrocuted.
Contradiction, please.
Wire to chair previously severed
by wire cutters.
Dr. Von Brom not electrocuted.
- Heart failure perhaps?
- Am not doctor.
- You make diagnosis?
- Well, no. I
- I've been too shocked to examine the body.
- Excuse.
Because of an unfortunate accident...
- the Crime League broadcast
will be discontinued at once.
- Oh, Tom, no!
I now return you to our main studios
where you will hear a musical program.
You're an awful reporter.
Tell them what happened.
- It's a great story, Tom.
- No, Mary. No.
[Thunderclaps Continue]
- Criminologist was murdered.
- [Mary] What?
- [Tom] Murder?
- You're crazy.
- But how?
- Observe small puncture on back of neck.
- I see.
Note peculiar discoloration.
Can be caused by tonga
poison used
by Dayak headhunters of Borneo.
Found on doctor's coat collar,
close to wound.
Small bamboo dart
projected by blowgun.
- Served as poison carrier.
- What do you mean, Mr. Chan?
Lethal dart was propelled
by sharp breath...
towards dead man
during seconds of darkness.
By one of us.
It's the only logical explanation.
But the wound's on the back ofhis neck.
Dart aimed at face.
But doctor, attracted by electrical display
behind chair, turned head.
Was struck here.
Well, whoever has a blowgun...
can certainly save us all a lot of trouble
by giving himself up now.
The Dayak blowgun
The museum has one.
- May examine, please?
- Why, certainly. This way.
Here we are.
It hasn't been touched.
Killer use similar tube-like implement.
You going to search everybody
for something as big as that?
So big.
You knew chair designed
to electrocute occupant.
- You're still crazy.
- Observe wire cutters.
Uh, that figured in the Willden auto murder.
It was used by the killer.
- This young woman use same to sever lethal cable.
- You're all wrong.
Injured finger produced by act
of untwisting wire...
which held implement to shelf.
Received identical wound
just now doing same.
That's a mighty impressive deduction, Mr. Chan.
But you couldn't sell it to a jury.
Am not ready for jury.
Please, can explain presence here
instead of own chair when light returned?
Why, of course. I got up to see
what caused the flash. Nobody else bothered to.
Mind you, I'm not making
any accusations...
but in the darkness, Mr. Lane seemed
to lean past me toward Dr. Von Brom.
That's right.
The killer had to lean forward to take aim.
- Oh, now, you couldn't mean me
by any chance, could you?
- [Sighs]
- That looks like a toothpick.
- Please.
Do not touch possible evidence.
- [Machinery Creaking]
- Mr. Chan. Mr. Chan!
There's someone inside!
Step out, please.
Don't shoot, Pop.
Will please explain presence of one dummy
inside another dummy?
Well, I couldn't stay away,
and I didn't wanna bother you...
so I got into this fella to watch.
- While in chess man, did offspring
make use of own eyes?
- You bet I did.
- What you see?
- Well, nothing suspicious.
That toothpick It's gone.
Valuable clue lost
because offspring imitate dummy.
One of us took it
when all eyes were on the chess player.
Hollow toothpick made from goose quill.
Possible blowgun.
- Let's search everybody.
- No use. Small object easily destroyed.
Well, all you have to do now is find out
who uses that kind of toothpick.
Let's preserve any possible fingerprints
where the toothpick was discovered.
I'll cover it.
There's your quill toothpick.
- Gee, Pop.
- Number two son must have been shoplifting
at Automat.
- We got another broadcast to do.
We better be goin'.
- Contradiction, please.
No one may leave
without permission of police.
- But I've got to phone my city desk.
- Must wait.
Suggest all gather
in office of Dr. Cream.
Uh, this way, please.
[Thunder Rumbling]
Do not recall presence
of woman in black...
at murder of Broadway Butterfly.
Why, I've never seen her before.
Why, she's alive.
Can explain presence here?
I must have fallen asleep.
Are visiting hours over?
Have been here long?
I don't remember.
You witnessed events
leading up to murder?
I heard nothing.
- A man has been killed.
- Oh, yes.
But that was long ago
10 years ago.
How could I forget?
I still wear black for him.
He was killed murdered.
Please, would mind
joining others in office?
- Mrs. Rocke!
- Mrs. Joe Rocke?
- [Mary] Are you sure?
- Well, I oughta be. She's a client of mine.
- How long has she been here?
- We don't know.
- Dr. Von Brom sent her husband to the
- Let me have that
Wait a minute.
Police calls come first. Okay, Pop?
Well, did you find
the blowgun on her?
Man murdered tonight
was Dr. Von Brom.
Careful, Mr. Chan.
She's easily upset.
Police headquarters?
I want to report a murder.
I'll connect you
with the Homicide Bureau.
It's Jimmy Chan callin' the cops.
[In Lower Voice]
Homicide Bureau, Lieutenant Leslie speaking.
Yeah, yeah. Mm-hmm.
Von Brom
Somebody got him with a poisoned dart...
shot from a quill toothpick.
What'll I tell the kid?
Tell him the cops are comin'.
We'll be right over, Mr. Chan.
Don't let anybody leave the building,
and don't touch anything.
You don't have to tell me, Lieutenant.
I've handled a case before. Okay.
- They're on their way.
- Good.
Everyone remain here and possible clues
at scene of crime will not be disturbed.
You mean, it's easier
to keep an eye on us this way.
- Please, Doctor, desire to see electric switchboard.
- Oh, certainly.
- I was just going to suggest that.
- Wait here with other witnesses.
Okay, Pop. I get it.
These suspects won't get away from me.
Suspicion is only toy of fools.
- [Door Closes]
- Oh, I I didn't mean
I hope I haven't offended anybody.
Oh, that's all right.
We all know that one of us is a murderer.
Sure. No.
Say, I'm not so sure about that.
- Oh, Pop!
- [Thunderclap]
Pop, I forgot to tell you.
There's somebody else in this museum.
He disappeared into a cell.
I saw him when I came in.
Say, Pop, don't you feel well?
- Don't you know a wax dummy when you see one?
- [Thunderclap]
Say, you're not supposed to be out here.
Get back in the office.
Who's tellin' me?
All right.
[Thunderclaps Continue]
- What did you do with that gun?
- You mind your own business. Let me handle this.
- Look, will you please go home?
- No.
Dagan's here.
I'm going to settle with him too.
- Dagan! How do you know?
- Never mind.
But I know.
You people had no right
to sneak away.
Well, I thought the body
ought to be covered.
- It looked like you were goin' through his pockets.
- No, I was arranging the sheet.
Get back in the office,
Okay, Mr. Chan.
- Boo!
- Don't do that!
Oh, Jimmy, I'm so sorry.
- What are you doing here?
- Believe it or not, I'm looking for a telephone.
Most odd that owner of museum
cannot explain wedding of electricity...
with chair reserved for humble self.
I assure you,
I don't know how it happened.
- Say, Pop
- Please, why you not remain with others?
Well, uh, th-there's something
I forgot to tell you. I saw
- Willie.
- Uh, gentlemen, I pronounce this man dead.
Please remove the body for autopsy.
- My night watchman. Perfectly harmless.
- [Chuckles]
It's the swellest execution I ever made.
Even the lights went out.
- You threw switch?
- Sure.
The warden himself He came right in here,
and he made me head executioner.
- Please, description of warden.
- There isn't anyone. He imagines all this.
That's what he thinks.
- Can recall warden?
- Sure:
About so high, and dark,
and smooth face...
- and, mmm, looked like an evil choirboy.
- Uh-huh.
Just imagination.
- Pop, I've got a theory.
- Quiet, please.
Uh, tell me exactly what you do.
At 8:20,
just like the warden told me...
I pushed the switch
and electrocuted Red Maddox.
Where is warden now?
I don't know.
He went out that way.
There is no warden.
- May examine room, please?
- Why, certainly.
Pop, listen!
Like busy mosquito,
offspring keep chasing parent.
- Why?
- Well, there's something I've got to tell you.
None of those people in there are guilty.
There's another man in this building.
- You see him?
- Yeah. He disappeared into that cell.
And then when I looked,
he wasn't there.
I swear he came in here.
- This gentleman you observe?
- [Jimmy] No, it was a man.
And there was a dummy in here with its head
all bandaged up, right here where I'm standing.
And now it's gone too.
Bandaged dummy part of exhibit?
Well, yes. It, uh, must have been changed
temporarily. Uh, shall we move on?
One moment, please.
Marks on floor indicate
prison bed moved... thus.
- [Jimmy] A trapdoor!
- [Cream] Oh, just a storeroom.
If storeroom innocent,
will apologize.
Lead way, please.
[Footsteps Descending Stairs]
Now this, gentlemen,
is my workshop, my studio.
Here I create in wax
the photographic likeness of famous criminals.
My work, purely educational
endorsed by schools and colleges.
My theme is "Crime does not pay."
- The end of the evil trail is prison or death.
- [Handcuffs Ratcheting]
Please, please!
Uh, sculpture was my hobby.
It is now my profession.
There is an artist in everyone,
if you look for him.
Don't you agree with me, Mr. Chan?
Most unusual form of art.
Uh, I do that when I'm nervous
tearing pieces of paper, you know.
Exact duplicate
of Steve McBirney's signature...
first observed in courtroom.
Why, nonsense. I don't even know McBirney.
Say, Pop, I'll bet Hey!
A hidden room.
- Oh, boy!
- Doctor.
- Most interesting.
- This where you operate on your dummies,
Dr. Cream?
- No. This is surgical birthplace of new faces.
- But, Mr. Chan
Evidence betrays museum to be hideout for
hunted criminals who change faces to cheat law.
So they could carry on the rackets.
Pop, you've discovered a big thing.
Now I understand why Miss Latimer
cut wires to chair.
She did not want murder to expose
museum's most profitable business.
- [Phone Rings]
- One moment. You answer telephone.
- Hello? What is it?
- Hello, give me Walker.
Then give me the city desk.
What? Who?
Jimmy Chan?
You're talking to the cellar.
Oh, Pop.
Miss Bolton
She dialed her office and got me.
Telephone obviously operated upon
so outside world cannot be reached.
Then I didn't talk to the police.
They're not coming!
He didn't tell me about that phone.
And now they know
that Von Brom died instead of you.
Here's where I settle with Chan.
I thought they'd gone. That was the plan.
But if they know that you're alive,
well, then they're still here.
And they'll kill you
and they'll kill me!
- [Jimmy] Like they killed Dr. Von Brom!
- Correction, please.
Criminologist not killed by McBirney.
Murderer was Butcher Dagan.
- [Jimmy] Dagan?
- [Cream] How do you mean?
Three clues spell Dagan:
Quill toothpick, bamboo dart...
and poison called tonga.
- Get that Chinaman before he gets us.
- No.
First we'll let him spot Dagan,
then we get 'em both.
Dagan send another man
to meet McBirney's bullets.
Officially dead,
Dagan vanish into new identity...
until recognized tonight
by Dr. Von Brom...
And threat of exposure
cost criminologist his life.
Dagan kill to prevent exposure
of new face.
- Dr. Cream, which one Dagan?
- [Cream] I tell you, I don't know!
[Jimmy] With a new face, he could be a woman
I mean, posing as a woman.
You give to Butcher Dagan living disguise.
- [Tom] Dr. Cream!
- The
- [Cream] Yes?
Doctor, you've got to tell us
who Dagan is.
I'm afraid I can't help you.
I never met Dagan.
You're covering up.
Mr. Chan knows what he's talking about.
- We're all in danger here with a killer loose!
- Mr. Agnew quite right.
Will send offspring outside of building
immediately to telephone police.
Okay, Pop.
[Thunder Rumbling In Distance]
- Mr. Agnew, please lock front door
after son's departure.
- Very well.
- If you'll excuse me, I have something to attend to.
- Oh, no, you don't.
- Why, you let me go!
- Tryin' to make a getaway, huh?
Now, how you make getaway
to summon police?
Oh, gee, Pop, I forgot.
- Where's the key?
- I don't know, you idiot!
Perhaps radio control box
connected by telephone...
to broadcast studio
will summon police.
I never thought of that.
Edwards, put me through
to the studio.
No connection.
They signed us off.
- Say, Pop, when I was in the lobby, that
- Please. Too many theories.
Let no one leave this room.
Will try to fix office telephone.
- [Door Closes]
- [Whispering] You fool.
Don't try another double-cross.
- What'd you say?
- Oh, uh, I said...
- "It looks as though you're the boss."
- Oh.
Didn't sound that way to me.
Mr. Lane, why were you spying
on Mr. Agnew and Mr. Chan?
Spying? What's this?
I want to know what's going on.
You see, I came here to prevent a murder
Dr. Von Brom's murder.
Who wanted to kill him?
My client, Mrs. Rocke.
The death of her husband left her embittered.
She believed that Von Brom persecuted Joe Rocke
to make his evidence stick.
Tonight, at her apartment,
she threatened to shoot Von Brom...
if he wouldn't exonerate her husband.
I begged her to let me
handle the matter, but...
she lost her temper
and ran out with a gun.
That's why I came here.
And now I'm convinced
that she couldn't have killed Von Brom.
Mrs. Rocke, is this true?
Do you know this man?
- [Thunder Rumbling]
- [Mary] Then he isn't your lawyer.
She's under a very great emotional strain.
- I think Mr. Chan should know about this.
- [Lane] That's your business.
Who did that? Put those lights on!
Don't move. There's a killer among us.
- I hope this isn't somebody's idea of a joke.
- Where's the light switch?
[Loud Thunderclap]
[Charlie] Please, Inspector O'Matthews?
Yes, telephone feel much better.
Desire inspector at once.
- [Muffled Cries]
- Regret to report murder at Museum of Crime.
Killer, Butcher Dagan,
still in building.
Witnesses to crime in great danger, and
- Why doesn't someone speak? Tom! Mr Lane!
- [Thunder Rumbling]
M-Maybe Dagan's sneaking up on us.
- [Squeals] Somebody just touched me.
- I did.
- How many times do I have to ask?
Where's the light switch?
- The corridor, on the right.
- Uh, oh sorry. Sorry.
- [Lane] Watch yourself.
What's going on here?
Which one of you
put those lights out?
- Hey!
- [Mary] Where's Dr. Cream?
I knew I had the right man.
He got away in the dark.
- You! You work with him.
You put the lights out for his getaway.
- Prove it!
Pop! Pop!
- Got him from the other door.
- [Charlie] Question, please.
How you know killer use other door?
Well, Mary was outside this door...
and no one could come in this way.
Gee, Pop, it's really you.
Oh, for a minute,
I thought that
Filial grief honorable music
to ancient heart.
I get it.
You set a trap to catch the killer.
Am most grateful to wax twin
for deceiving same...
- but knife thrower escape in darkness.
- Oh, the knife
No, do not touch.
Fingerprints may have message.
Oh. Dr. Cream He's gone.
Do likewise.
Go for police.
Each moment of delay
dangerous to all here.
[Thunder Rumbling]
[Thunder Rumbling]
I'll have a general alarm
sent out for Dr. Cream.
He's Dagan. I got it all figured out.
There wasn't any Dr. Cream.
Dagan killed him
and had somebody give him Cream's face.
He wouldn't run away
ifhe wasn't guilty.
Unless doctor desire
to escape offspring's theories.
And there was something else.
Just before the lights went out, I saw
Sometimes better to see and not tell.
Dr. Von Brom proved that.
Once more, hurry for police.
Okay, Pop.
I won't let you down this time.
- Please, everyone assume position held
before darkness came.
- All right.
Pop! Oh, Pop!
[Jimmy Shouting In Chinese]
The bandaged dummy I saw He's dead.
- Who is it?
- Removal of bandages necessary for identification.
[Thunder Rumbling]
- [Mary] What happened?
- He's all right.
Oh, that bandaged dummy.
It was a man.
He's dead.
Please touch nothing. Fingerprints will prove
dead man was Steve McBirney.
Are you sure that was McBirney?
Dagan strike again.
Wound in dead man's back
indicate mortal blow with knife.
Say, what were those five crisscross scars
on the back of his neck? Fresh scars?
Signature of Dr. Cream.
Incisions made in facial surgery...
to tighten and alter contour
of face skin.
[Door Hinges Creaking]
[Window Rattles]
[Hinges Creak]
- Playin' a game?
- Oh, Inspector, I-I thought you were the killer.
- Where's your dad?
- [Shuddering]
Please, Inspector, must apologize
for reception committee.
Well, that's okay, Charlie.
When your broadcast was cut off...
I figured I'd better come over
and see what was goin' on.
- Oh, can you let my men in?
The front door is locked.
- [Charlie] Jimmy.
Say, we picked up Doc Cream outside.
- Is it true what he tells me about Von Brom?
- Quite true.
Steve McBirney also murdered
by Butcher Dagan.
- Dagan?
- Contrary to opinion, Butcher Dagan still alive.
Dagan here? Well, which one is he?
Have you spotted him yet?
Killer will be identified
when fingerprint expert arrive.
That's right.
Well, sure.
Dagan's prints are on file.
Oh, but he must have thought of that.
- But he could have changed them by an operation.
- [Scoffs]
You sound likeJimmy Chan.
Oh, no. I wasn't trying to escape.
I was I was just going out a-after some help.
You certainly tried to avoid my squad car.
Pete, call headquarters,
get Homicide over here.
Burns, get on the front door.
Nobody leaves.
Now, Cream, which one is Dagan? You know,
we can't protect a man who won't name his enemy.
Well, perhaps the doctor
doesn't consider Dagan his enemy.
I swear, I don't know him,
and I never did know him.
Please, suggest others remain here.
You come with me.
[O'Matthews] Mike, go in that back room
and see that no one gets out of that window.
Casey, you come with us.
[Thunder Rumbling]
Now, what you see
just before lights go out?
Mr. Lane.
He made a funny move towards that wall.
- Then lights go out?
- Yeah.
[Switch Clicks]
[Switch Clicks]
Observe, please. Secret light switch
concealed in door to curio case.
[Jimmy] I get it. Lane plunged us
into darkness and grabbed a knife from here.
- See, it's missing.
- Say, Charlie...
if Lane is Dagan,
why didn't he try a getaway?
Killer evidently made attempt to escape
in moments of darkness...
but met obstacle of front door,
which I had previously locked.
- Then he saw McBirney and knifed him!
- Correct.
Cream knows who Dagan is.
Why won't he talk?
Fear is cruel padlock.
Well, we'll get him with fingerprints.
- He can't get out ofhere.
- Hey!
[Gun Clatters On Floor]
Hey, come outta there.
- We've got Dagan.
- Contradiction, please.
Prisoner is Grenock,
bodyguard to Steve McBirney.
Don't let Dagan get me.
He killed Mac, and now he wants me.
If you're McBirney's man,
you know Dagan. Where is he?
I don't know. We were waitin' for Chan to spot him.
There. She's Dagan!
Why, I thought he was Dagan.
Dr. Cream's surgery
not create Mrs. Rocke.
Take him out.
- You came here to kill Dr. Von Brom.
- No, only to confront him
to beg him to reconsider the evidence
that convicted my husband.
He would never see me.
- Say, Pop, she doesn't sound insane.
- I had to pretend that...
after I guessed the way you did
that Dagan was here.
- [Thunderclap]
- I wanted to stay to avengeJoe.
No weapon in handbag earlier.
When the lights went out during the broadcast,
I was suddenly afraid, so I hid the gun.
- I didn't want it found on me.
- But now you use same.
Yes. And no jury would convict me
for killing Dagan.
He framed my husband,
sent him to the gallows.
Mock insanity not always safe alibi.
- Mrs. Rocke, how did you get into this museum?
- Watchman feels sorry for me.
He thinks I come here
to talk to my husband.
I'm sure he didn't throw the knife
at Mr. Chan.
Uh, am also positive.
Say, Pop,
Dagan must have McBirney's gun.
I don't see why he doesn't
shoot his way out.
May be contemplating same,
if unable to remain invisible.
Or may strike from darkness
with blowgun.
Please, hold valuable evidence:
Antidote for tonga
poison used on bamboo dart.
- Where did you get it?
- From Dr. Cream's office.
Observe. Duplicate of blowgun
used by Butcher Dagan.
- [Jimmy] That's a toothpick from the Automat.
- Yes.
- You tryin' to tell me Von Brom
was killed with a toothpick?
- No.
Small bamboo dart
containing original poison.
[Jimmy] Dagan blew it into the doctor's neck.
A mere scratch is fatal.
- [O'Matthews] Ah, that's silly. I don't believe it.
- [Jimmy] Go on, Pop. Show him.
Son read parent's thought.
Tom Agnew!
You fool! Give me that antidote!
Don't waste time. This is quick!
- You killed Dr. Von Brom.
- Yes!
- Also Steve McBirney.
- Yes, I had to!
- You framed Joe Rocke, innocent man.
- Yes, yes!
- But hurry. Give me that stuff!
- Dart only broken matchstick.
Original needle of death
still in pocket.
Your prisoner.
Casey, take him out.
My boss.
Club me with a feather.
Mr. Chan, you've cleared my husband's name.
I'm deeply grateful.
How can I ever thank you?
Justice, like virtue,
brings its own reward.
Well, Mr. Chan, you win the radio debate.
You solved the Rocke case, all right.
- Charlie, how long have you known this?
- Knowledge short, suspicion long.
I might have known.
Any other radio man...
would have stayed on the air
to broadcast Von Brom's murder.
Small nose for news in radio man
first aroma of suspicion.
You knew he was there all the time?
Hiding place discovered
when wax figure suddenly develop...
telltale scars on back of neck
like Steve McBirney.
Gee. McBirney gave you the clue
to spot Dagan.
And we might have cleared out of here
and left him to a clean getaway.
- What about Dr. Cream?
- Oh, he'll get five years for lifting mugs' maps.
[O'Matthews Laughs]
- Supper?
- I've got a whale of a story to phone.
- Well, after you phone then.
- Mr. Lane...
I'm awfully sorry I suspected you.
Oh, that's all right.
Forget it. It kept me on Mary's mind.
I've been watching you.
You can't get away
with museum property.
Let that be a lesson to you.
Yes, sir.
Say, Pop, what was Dr. Cream doing
with an antidote for blowgun poison?
Ah, that was a bluff, Jimmy.
Just a bottle of toothache painkiller.
Boy, you sure pulled a fast one.
I'm gettin' sick and tired
of all these dummies around here.
- [Yelps, Sputtering]
- Pop!
- [Laughing]