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

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Keye Luke, Victor Sen Yung and Mantan Moreland
THE FEATHERED SERPENT (1948). Director: William Beaudine.

Charlie Chan (Roland Winters) and both of his sons, Lee (Keye Luke of The Green Hornet) and Tommy (Victor Sen Yung) -- their first time together in any Chan movie -- are down in San Pablo, Mexico with chauffeur Birmingham Brown (Mantan Moreland). Two professors who were searching for the "ancient Aztec Temple of the Sun" have disappeared, but one of them, Scott (Erville Alderson), staggers out of the desert only to be murdered. This entry starts out well, but soon deteriorates into tedium despite hidden chambers in the temple, another murder, and the like. The biggest problem with The Feathered Serpent is that the identity of the mastermind behind the plot is revealed about halfway through the movie, dissipating all possibility of suspense. [The unmasking of an additional killer at the very end is too little, too late.] Carol Forman of The Black Widow is criminally under-utilized. Nils Asther [The Man in Half Moon Street] and John Livingstone play two younger professors. Beverly Jons is the nominal heroine and makes little impression. Keye Luke as Lee Chan had not been seen in a Charlie Chan picture for eleven years.

Verdict: Not much of a mystery. *1/2.

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