Charlie Chan at the Circus - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Charlie Chan at the Circus Reviews

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½ March 30, 2014
another good entry in this detective/crime series
½ March 26, 2014
Charlie Chan at the Circus (1936)

The movie starts out with Charlie Chan (Warner Oland) and the whole famn damily (13 kids and the wife) in toe visiting the circus. Inspector Chan had been given free tickets by Joe Kinney (Paul Stanton), one of the two owners of the circus, who wants to talk with Charlie about some threats on his life. Naturally he's killed off before being able to tell him about it in detail, leaving Charlie and number 1 son, Lee Chan (Keye Luke) to figure it out using their usual powers of deduction.

Joe wasn't a very well liked boss and there's no shortage of suspects, including a very angry ape who could have killed him. The circus is in real financial trouble if they can't keep moving and putting on shows. A little couple Tiny (Olive Brasno) and Tim (George Brasno) have talked Charlie into investigating this with the help of the local police Lieutenant Macy (Wade Boteler) and Lee, who is infatuated with the beautiful Chinese-American contortionist, Su Toy (Shia Jung).

Maybe an interesting factoid; the actor who played one of the suspects, the snake charmer, Tom Holt (J. Caroll Naish) would later play Charlie in the New Adventures of Charlie Chan, the short-lived TV series in 1958.
½ November 8, 2013
I used to watch the Mystery Movie on Channel 38 on Saturday nights with my Dad (who invariably fell asleep). The Rathbone & Bruce Sherlock Holmes pictures, Peter Lorre as Mr. Moto, and of course Charlie Chan. Dad prefers Sidney Toler but I think I like Warner Oland best. Here he is solving a mystery at the circus with his 12 kids (headed by number one son Keye Luke) along for investigation. Not the most compelling of mysteries but not bad once it gets going and Charlie even gets to construct a trap for the killer. Of course, in movies like this, you have to see a guy in a cheesy ape suit. Still, these "mystery movies" give my brain a salve after a long week.
½ February 6, 2013
Mystery seems to always find Charlie Chan--Some entertaining acts under this big top!!
½ October 17, 2012
1.5: Hmm. I was prompted to watch these by an article in The New Yorker that I read a year or two ago. I wasn't expecting them to be outstanding, but I was expecting something better than this. I have now seen essentially every Charlie Chan film, or at least all that were made between 1931 and 1947 (29 films). What struck me most is that these really have more in common with a television show than a feature film. Each film is essentially the same except for the "location." I guess it makes sense as they serve essentially the same purpose. One can essentially watch every film on auto-pilot comfortable in the knowledge that one knows exactly which characters will pop up and that everything will be satisfactorily resolved in the end. They are "C" picture at best. Sidney Toler is pretty good; Warner Toland is somewhat acceptable; and the other two one picture no-names are either inconsequential or awful. It is rather ludicrous that they didn't allow an actual Asian actor to play the role, but the portrayal of African-American's is much more heinous. They certainly pale in comparison to just about every other detective picture/TV series I've ever seen. None of the films rate an individual review so this will have to suffice for all 29.
March 31, 2011
I liked this one, Charlie Chan goes to a circus and mixes it up with the midgets, the acrobats and yes, gets involved in a mystery that features, yes, a giant ape. Fun, slightly offensive and slightly stupid, just like I want my Charlie Chan movies to be.
½ October 20, 2009
One of the better Charlie Chan mystery series, thanks in large part to the great comic support of Keye Luke and of course Warner Oland as Chan. Entertaining story, short and well paced. A wonderful film.
½ June 11, 2009
Whenever I read a plot synopsis that says "with a rampaging gorilla on the loose" I get a little too excited.
½ July 13, 2005
One of the better Charlie Chan mystery series, thanks in large part to the great comic support of Keye Luke and of course Warner Oland as Chan. Entertaining story, short and well paced. A wonderful film.
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