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

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Cute couple: [Victor] Sen Yung and Iris Wong
CHARLIE CHAN IN RENO (1939). Director: Norman Foster.

Charlie Chan (Sidney Toler) arrives in "the biggest little city in the world" after a hateful woman named Jeanne Bently (Louise Henry) is murdered in a hotel occupied by ladies awaiting their divorces. Sheriff Fletcher (Slim Summerville) is convinced that the culprit is Mary Whitman (Pauline Moore), whose husband, Curtis (Kane Richmond) ,was dumping her for Jeanne; Curtis knows Charlie and importunes him to intervene. Suspects and others involved in the case include Mrs. Russell (Kay Linaker), who owns the hotel; Dr. Ainsley (Ricardo Cortez of The Big Shakedown), who is the hotel's doctor; Wally Burke (Robert Lowery), who was jilted by Jeanne; Chief of Police King (Charles D. Brown); Vivian Wells (Phyllis Brooks), who despised Jeanne; a talkative cab driver (Eddie Collins); and the victim's ex-husband, Bently (Morgan Conway of Dick Tracy), who is hiding out in a ghost town. Meanwhile number two son Jimmy (Victor Yen Sung) is investigating/screwing up with the help of the dead woman's pretty maid Choy (Iris Wong). Toler, Yung and most of the cast are very adept, Summerville is terrific, and the movie is fun, if not necessarily one of the better Chan mysteries. This was followed by the excellent Charlie Chan at Treasure Island.

Verdict: Chan and company always amuse. **1/2.

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