TCM Spotlight Charlie Chan Collection
From 1926 until 1949 Charlie Chan had forty-seven big screen adventures making the Chinese detective one of the silver screen's most celebrated sleuths. In this collection from Warner Brothers, fans get four previously unreleased episodes from 1946 to 1949 which include the last adventure for actor Sidney Toler and the first for Roland Winters. Officially, Warner Brothers studios finished making Charlie Chan films in 1942, but low budget Monogram Pictures picked up and carried the torch—allowing for all four of these films. Any Charlie Chan movie has an almost racist feel in hindsight. It's puzzling to see two American actors in Asian makeup take on the role designed as an Asian hero, but audiences embraced Toler and Winters as the Chinese detective back in the day. There was also Chan's black chauffeur and Asian son who were always portrayed as rather slow and comical. These four installments won't change your mind about all of that, but they do seem quaint and naive. They are light entertainment from a long gone era.

4 x DVD5 | NTSC 4:3 | 01:01:26 + 01:05:59 + 01:08:24 + 01:07:41
2.61 Gb + 2.79 Gb + 2.89 Gb + 2.86 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: English, Francais, Espanol
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Dark Alibi (1946)
The fortieth of forty-seven Charlie Chan films, this one finds Chan trying to save the life of an innocent man on death row. This installment seems to have been made quickly and on the cheap with only two sets, including a boarding house and a jail. It all revolves around fingerprints, and it's pretty standard fare for the series.

Dangerous Money (1946)
This one is the thirty-ninth film of the series. A murder on a cruise ship heading to Samoa forces Charlie Chan to figure out who would kill a man during a knife throwing show. It's an exotic setting, and the murder is a little more fantastic with someone getting a knife in the back right next to Charlie.

The Trap (1946)
This is the last Charlie Chan film for Sidney Toler who was stricken with cancer, and you can see him struggle a bit to get through this forty-first entry in the series. Chan investigates the murder of a Malibu showgirl who lives in a house with other barely-dressed entertainers.

The Chinese Ring (1947)
The debut of Roland Winters in the forty-second Charlie Chan movie. This one involves the murder of a Chinese princess in his own San Francisco house. She gets a poison dart in the back while handing him a ring. Apparently this is a remake of a 1939 Boris Karloff feature, proving that Hollywood's penchant for remakes is nothing new.

Related posts:

  1. The Charlie Chan Chanthology: The Secret Service (1944), The Chinese Cat (1944), The Jade Mask (1945), Meeting at Midnight / Black Magic (1944), The Scarlet Clue (1945), The Shanghai Cobra (1945) 6 x DVD5
  2. Dark Passage (1947) DVD9
  3. Le grand alibi / The Great Alibi (2008) DVD9
  4. The Killers (1946 and 1964) 2 x DVD9 and Blu-Ray Criterion Collection [2015 Edition]
  5. The Chase (1946) DVD9