Charlie Chan in London Reviews
March 11, 2014
Charlie Chan in London (1934)
This is one of the first surviving Charlie Chan movies with Swedish actor Warner Oland playing Inspector Charlie Chan. The other movies, Charlie Chan Carrie On (1931), Charlie Chan's Chance (1932), Charlie Chan's Greatest Case (1933) and Charlie Chan's Courage (1934) are forever lost to us.
Charlie Chan has been a racist stereotype, but the author, Earl Derr Biggers took the Charlie Chan character based on an actual Hawaiian police detective, and although Oland is playing in "Yellow Face" he is considered the better Charlie Chans in the franchise.
Hugh Gray (Douglas Walton) is nervously staying in Death Row while his Sister Pamela (Drue Leyton) is anxiously trying to get a stay of execution with her fiancee, Neil Howard (Ray Milland) and Geoffrey Richmond (Alan Mowbray), who are talking to anyone who will listen to them, without success.
Then Inspector Chan shows up in town, and is asked to see what he can come up with. Chan goes to Geoffrey Richmond's mansion during fox hunting season to get all of the suspects together to re-inact the crime, while time is running out.
March 27, 2014
The Charlie Chan character is still deductive and astute, but the movies are long and rather dull. I regret to say that they definitely have not aged well.
October 9, 2013
Charlie Chan has three days to save a man from the gallows by finding the real killer at an English country estate. This time he has no sons in tow and there is therefore a little less comic relief. This is a relatively early Warner Oland entry and the Chan character doesn't seem to have jelled (or maybe I've watched too many Sidney Toler entries in the interim) -- he seems a bit slower in his way of speaking and more likely to play up the cultural miscommunicatiion angle in his interactions with the suspects (kind of like a Chinese Colombo perhaps). More alarming is the other characters' continued alarm at seeing a heavy-set Chinese man -- these over-reactions themselves seem almost racist and force one to remember that Oland is in fact Swedish (Ohlund) not Chinese. But these little concerns aside, this is another solid entry and the setting and cast of characters are better defined and the mystery yields some true suspense (even if the conclusion is again impossible to solve on one's own). Ray Milland makes an early appearance.
July 14, 2005
One of the earliest and also one of the best in the Charlie Chan series. Warner Oland plays Detective Chan in this one, set in London. The accused sister believes the man charged with the murder to be innocent and Charlie is brought in to investigate.