Black Magic (1944 film)

Black Magic, later retitled Meeting at Midnight for television, is a 1944 mystery film starring Sidney Toler as Charlie Chan.[1]

Black Magic
Black Magic poster
Directed byPhil Rosen
Produced byPhillip N. Krasne
James S. Burkett
Written byEarl Derr Biggers (characters)
George Callahan (screenplay)
StarringSidney Toler
Music byAlexander Laszlo
CinematographyArthur Martinelli
Edited byJohn F. Link Sr.
Distributed byMonogram Pictures
Release date
  • September 9, 1944 (1944-09-09)
Running time
67 minutes
CountryUnited States

It was the third Charlie Chan film made by Toler at Monogram Pictures.


Charlie postpones his trip home from service with the government to Honolulu to help with the investigation of murder involving Number One Daughter (Frances Chan) and an easily spooked chauffeur (Mantan Moreland).

Mr. William Bonner is murdered in the middle of a seance with a total of 8 witnesses, seen and unseen, present. Charlie Chan's daughter Frances Chan (real name Chan) is one of the witnesses and is detained. When police learn of Frances's true identity as Charlie Chan's daughter, he is summoned to police headquarters. The police offer the case to the famous Chinese Detective and he reluctantly agrees in order to get his daughter released. The police cannot find a gun anywhere in the house. Police then learn from the coroner that Mr. Bonner was shot and the bullet did not go all the way thorough, yet it is not lodged anywhere in the body. The seance room is supported by a gadget room to assist in the various ghostly appearances. Birmingham Brown's comedy with the various seance gadgets serve to link the movie audience with a "me too" bond which is very warm and human. Since there was no gun and no bullet, Charlie Chan has the Coroner perform an experiment to determine what might have happened. The case is solved when the murderer brushes up against Charlie Chan in a reenactment of the crime with Charlie Chan sitting where the murdered man was sitting.

Black Magic is notable for being an early film to feature the exposé of fraudulent Spirit Mediums employing fake spirits, voices and the use of trick spirit cabinets.



The Los Angeles Times said the climax was "unusually absorbing".[2]

See also


  1. Black Magic Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 12, Iss. 133, (Jan 1, 1945): 2.
  2. Chan Solves New Crime Los Angeles Times 1 Sep 1944: 10.

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