Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Keye Luke and Warner Oland
CHARLIE CHAN AT THE RACE TRACK (1936). Director: H. Bruce Humberstone.

Charlie Chan (Warner Oland) uncovers skulduggery surrounding a race horse when its jockey (Frankie Darro of Burn 'Em Up Barnes) throws a race, and that's only the beginning. On shipboard, the horse's owner is found trampled to death but Chan quickly deduces that it was not an accident and the horse is not to blame. Suspects and other characters include Lee Chan (Keye Luke) who pretends to be a steward to help/hinder his father; Alice Fenton (Helen Wood), Bruce Rogers (Thomas Beck), jockey Eddie Brill (Junior Coghlan of The Adventures of Captain Marvel); horse owner George Chester (Alan Dinehart of Seven Days Ashore); and his daughter, Catherine (Gloria Roy). There's also a mischievous monkey called Lollipop; a groom named Streamline (John Henry Allen, who seems to be doing a Stepin Fetchit imitation); and when offered refreshment, Chan asks not for spirits but sarsaparilla. Charlie actually discusses blood spatter evidence at one point, proving such matters were invoked decades before CSI and Henry Lee.

Verdict: Fun, as usual, if not topnotch Chan. **1/2.

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