Chinatown at Midnight

Chinatown at Midnight is a 1949 film noir crime film directed by Seymour Friedman and starring Hurd Hatfield.

Chinatown at Midnight
Directed bySeymour Friedman
Produced bySam Katzman
Screenplay byRobert Libott
Frank Burt
StarringHurd Hatfield
CinematographyHenry Freulich
Edited byEdwin H. Bryant
Columbia Pictures
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • November 17, 1949 (1949-11-17) (New York City)
Running time
67 minutes
CountryUnited States


After a jade vase is mentioned to him by Lisa Marcel, an interior designer, Clifford Ward steals it from a Chinatown shop. He shoots and kills shopkeeper Joe Wong, who triggered the burglar alarm, and when employee Betty Chang telephones for help, Ward shoots her as well.

Ward, fluent in Chinese, speaks to the police on the phone. Telephone operator Hazel Fong becomes the only hope police have of identifying the voice. Lisa sees a photo of the stolen vase in the newspaper and immediately suspects Ward, who then adds her to his murder victims. When he falls ill and phones a neighborhood pharmacy, the call is once again placed by Hazel, who recognizes his voice. Ward attempts to flee, but the police gun him down.



The SF Police Department pursues a serial killer on the loose in San Francisco's Chinatown.

Preservation status

In 2014, a pristine 35mm print of the film was struck from the Columbia Pictures archives and subsequently exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

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