Film #153: CHARLIE CHAN: MEETING AT MIDNIGHT aka BLACK MAGIC
Charlie Chan: Meeting At Midnight (aka Black Magic)
3 out of 5 stars
Time has not been kind to the Charlie Chan franchise. By today’s standards, the films are wildly racist and borderline offensive. They’re also – if we’re to be honest – pretty darned entertaining. If we can forgive the ignorance and insensitivity shown and chalk it all up to “Well, it was another time…,” there’s a solid storyline here. With MEETING AT MIDNIGHT (much like the rest of the series), we not only get every Asian stereotype there is trotted out before us (Sydney Toler’s pin-backed eyes and clipped way of speaking, for example), we also get a lot of Black “Step-n-Fetchit” ones as well (as comic relief by the great Mantan Moreland). Still, despite all the caricatures and racial offenses, the Charlie Chan films are all solid mysteries and decent films. Just go in knowing that they are indeed very much products of their time and try to forgive the insensitivity exhibited. Rentable. Safe for kids. Every entry in the series is all a decent time-waster and everyone should see one or two of only to get them checked off of your list.