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

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Victor Sen Yung, Harold Huber, and Sidney Toler
CHARLIE CHAN IN RIO (1941). Director: Harry Lachman.

Charlie Chan (Sidney Toler) and his irrepressible son, Jimmy (Victor Sen Yung), have come to Rio where Charlie plans to arrest a woman from Honolulu who is wanted for murder; meanwhile Jimmy hopes to learn the mambo either from singer Lola Dean (Jacqueline Dalya) or her cute maid, Lili (Iris Wong). Alas, Lola is the woman wanted for murder, but she herself is killed before Charlie can put the cuffs on her. Suspects include Lola's baffled fiance, Clark (uncredited); Morana, the Indian mystic (Victor Jory of Cat-Women of the Moon); Ken Reynolds (a strangely unrecognizable Richard Derr of The Invisible Avenger); his wife, Joan (Mary Beth Hughes of Rockin' in the Rockies); friend Bill Kellogg (Hamilton MacFadden); the bitter Grace (Cobina Wright Jr.); Lola's efficient secretary, Helen (Kay Linaker); and even the butler, Rice (Leslie Denison). This is an entertaining mystery, but it lacks the tension and suspense of superior entries in the series. The acting is generally good, however, with Toler and Sen Yung in fine form. Harold Huber once again plays a police inspector, but is more relaxed and appealing than usual. Kay Linaker and Iris Wong were also in previous Chan pictures. Truman Bradley, who was in the last entry Dead Men Tell, is listed in the cast but I couldn't spot him in this and can't even remember the character!

Verdict: Acceptable Chan vehicle. **1/2.

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