Sunday, August 18, 2013

"Charlie Chan in London" with Warner Oland and Ray Milland (1934)

Cold and rainy Sunday afternoons when I was a kid didn't pose much of a problem for me. I was, and still am, an avid reader, and when all else failed there was always something old on television, usually Channel 9, WOR-TV. I don’t know what they show bow, but back then they were a treasure trove of old movies almost all the time. Many were old enough to have gone out of copyright, and so they could be shown for free, which was a real plus for the audience, as it gave the station a wider variety of stuff to choose from.

In this film, Charlie Chan, played by the decidedly western Warner Oland, gets involved at the last minute to help solve the murder for which an innocent man is about to be put to death. His last appeal has been denied, but his girlfriend, who believes adamantly in his innocence, manages to get Mr. Chan to look into the matter. Kind of like a “Matlock” episode, only with an Oriental Andy Griffith.

There’s a lot of charm to these old Charlie Chan films, and also a remarkable similarity to many of the simpler television mystery shows such as “Matlock” and many others. And another thing I like about a lot of these films and shows is that no one; except the bad guy; ever pays the bill. 

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