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

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Drue Leyton, Warner Oland and Ray Milland
CHARLIE CHAN IN LONDON (1934). Director: Eugene Ford.

Pamela Gray (Drue Leyton) is convinced that her brother, Paul (uncredited), is innocent of the murder of an inventor named Hamilton, but his appeal has been denied and he is facing execution. Although Pamela's fiance, Neil (Ray Milland), Paul's lawyer, doesn't believe in his client's innocence, Charlie Chan (Warner Oland) isn't so sure. He has only a couple of days to prove the man's innocence and save his life. Then there's a "suicide" of one of the suspects, and an attempt is made on Chan's life ... Among the suspects are the horse groom Lake (John Rogers); grumpy, uncooperative Major Jardine (George Barraud); Phillips, the butler (Murray Kinnell); Geoffrey Richmond (Alan Mowbray); and his girlfriend, Lady Mary (Mona Barrie), among others. Detective Sergeant Thacker is played by E. E. Clive. Considering the circumstances, Charlie Chan in London should have been a lot more suspenseful than it is, but the actors, Oland included, are more than competent and the movie is watchable. The ending is charming.

Verdict: Chan capably treading water. **1/2.

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