Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Charlie Chan Collection Vol 4 |
Charlie Chan in Honolulu / Charlie Chan in Reno / Charlie Chan at Treasure Island / City in Darkness
Actors: Sidney Toler, Victor Sen Young
Genres: Classics, Comedy, Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
Disc 1: CHARLIE CHAN IN HONOLULU **Full Frame Feature **Reinventing Chan **Sidney Toler:The Man Who Became Chan **"Charlie Chan? Courage: A Re-creation of a Lost Chan Film" **Restoration Comparison **Still Gallery Disc 2:... more »
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The Great Charlie Chan Series Contiues.
Hal Owen | Burbank, California USA | 12/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Warner Oland, not the first actor to play the great detective Charlie Chan on the silver screen but the man responsible for creating his look, demeaner and countenance in some sixteen Chan films, died in August of 1938. Mr. Oland's health had been slowly declining and he reportedly walked off the set of "Charlie Chan At The Ringside", (eventually completed as "Mr. Moto's Gamble" with Peter Lorre,) to eventually return to his native Sweden where he passed away in Stockholm. Meanwhile executives at 20th Century Fox had no intention of letting this most successful film series, (Chan movies reportedly earned over one million dollars each for the studio,) slip away and the great Charlie Chan casting call was announced. The man eventually selected to replace Warner Oland was the relatively obscure non oriental actor, Sidney Toler of Missouri. Fortunately with the release of Mr Toler's first Chan film in 1938, "Charlie Chan in Honolulu", it quickly became obvious that the film series was in good hands for what patrons wanted most was to see their favorite detective Charlie Chan's further adventures. Which brings us to this wonderful fourth DVD release in the Fox collection of Charlie Chan films. With the passing of Warner Oland, studio executives decided to take a fresh look at the Charlie Chan series. Keye Luke, who had performed most admirably as Number One Son - Lee, would be replaced by Number Two Son - Jimmy, played with great panache and vigor by Sen Yung. Mr. Oland's somewhat introverted Chan character became more extroverted in the capable hands of Sidney Toler. With the 1939 production "Charlie Chan in Reno," the series hit its stride with well acted, written and directed productions. Following Reno is perhaps the most interesting Chan film of all, (IMO,) "Charlie Chan at Treasure Island." With a splendid cast to include Cesar Romero as The Great Rhadini and the exquisitely lovely Pauline Moore as his assistant Eve Cairo, this 1939 production uses the "Golden Gate International Exposition On San Francisco Bay" as the backdrop for one of the cleverest Chan mysteries of the entire series. The fourth film in this box set serves in a way as a Charlie Chan wake-up call to a 1939 world on the brink of war, "Charlie Chan In The City of Darkness." Having already visited Paris in 1935, this Chan adventure finds Mr. Toler in the company of the great character acter Harold Huber. Paris is now a city in blackout and the race is on to prevent a weapons cache from falling into the hands of ????? All the more reason to enjoy this fourth set in the continuing Charlie Chan series rom Fox. Best regards, Hal Owen."
TOLER TAKES OVER
Terry D. Robertson | Asheville, NC USA | 12/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After Warner Oland's untimely death, Sidney Toler took over the reigns of playing the uncanny oriental sleuth. Keye Luke was very close to Oland and did not resume his role as #1 son. Victor Sen Yun (of Hopsing fame on Bonanza) took over Luke's role. The first Toler outing, IN HONOLULU is one of the best. The pre-war Chan movies (featured here) are some of the best work. WWII brought a more cautious series of Chan outings and they were not very entertaining. They were filled with patriotism (too much at times) and followed a "set" formula (Chan working for the US government).
The flicks in this great box set filled with extra goodies, are terrific. Only one does not feature the energetic #1 son, THE CITY OF DARKNESS and is the weakest of the entries.
I won't go into plots, they have been adequately reviewed. The transition from Warner Oland to Sidney Toler, I found very easy assimilate thanks to great scripts. Toler is more acerbic in his role then Oland. But underneath his snippy barbs towards his children, he smiles in delight. In order to enjoy the Toler Chan, one must not compare the two different incarnations or it will spoil the continuation of this great series for you. Enjoy them for what they are, very well made B flicks filled with humor and mystery. A standout is TREASURE ISLAND and one of the best in the Toler series.
Thanks to Fox for releasing these hard to get Toler outings that were previously only available on poor bootleg copies. Keep up the good work. And enjoy these films and the many bonus features.
There was also a short-lived third Charlie Chan (Roland Winters in 6 movies). Toler made more Chan films than Oland and Luke and Sen Yun does return for the Winter's outings. They are not available at this time and Winters was not a very credible Charlie Chan but worth a watch if you can catch it on TV. For now we have more great Chan movies to enjoy."
Impact of Charlie Chan on youngsters
Dumand Dummer | Heat Stroke, TX | 02/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Charlie Chan Collection, Vol. 4 (Charlie Chan in Honolulu / Charlie Chan in Reno / Charlie Chan at Treasure Island / City in Darkness) (4DVD)
Rather than rehash the excellent history of the Chan movies as given by other reviewers, I'd like to share a couple of personal experiences.
I was born in 1939, almost the same time as Sidney Toler's Chan character. Most of the movies I saw as a child were Toler movies, and I loved them all, and he remained my favorite Chan.
Being from small town America, I didn't see a Asian in person until after WWII. The Japanese, of course, were always vilified in the movies of that time. Charlie Chan showed my young mind that all Asians weren't villains and Chan and his sons and family became apart of my fantasy family. I dreamed of growing up and portraying him in movies.
When I hear Asians talking about the harm the Chan movies did, I can only think about the love that they instilled in me. As an adult, I have spent several years in Asian countries, enjoying the people and cultures of each country. I think that my love of the Chan movies made it very natural.
Further, this is great family entertainment, and when my youngest daughter arrived when I was in my late forties, we soon began sharing the Chan adventure via VHS and a LASER DISC collection. Mantan Mooreland's "Birmingham Brown" made us laugh and we even worked up his famous routine that finished each other sentences! The Charlie Chan Chanthology (The Secret Service / The Chinese Cat / The Jade Mask / Meeting at Midnight / The Scarlet Clue / The Shanghai Cobra)
It also upsets me when Mooreland's character is accused of being offensive for about the same reason as Chan's. I was raised in the segregated South. Mantan and Steppin Fetchit not only made me laugh, but showed me the warmth and humor of blacks that I couldn't get in daily life.
So far, I have every Chan collection offered, and will continue buy all the collections. I love the characters and the movies as good, clean, family entertainment.
Charlie Chan Volume IV
Robert Michonski | Houston, TX | 03/22/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is the forth in the 20th Century Fox restorations of the Charlie Chan series and includes: "Charlie Chan in Honolulu", "Charlie Chan in Reno", "Charlie Chan at Treasure Island" and "Charlie Chan in City in Darkness". Fox and then 20th Century Fox made 28 Chan movies between 1926 and 1942. Four of the earliest ones were lost in vault fires in the 1950's.
These four films are the first Chan mysteries made with Sidney Toler playing Chan since Warner Oland died in 1939. Simultaneously, Sen Yung (#2 son - Jimmy) replaces Keye Luke (#1 son - Lee) as Chan's sidekick. Keye Luke did not want to continue the series after Warner Oland died.
These are not the best of the series, but are still very entertaining. "Charlie Chan in Honolulu" is the transitional movie and is rated by Leonard Maltin as the best of this quartet. It is one of the few times in the series that Chan is in Honolulu and you get to see his massive family (11 children). My favorite is Treasure Island because of the fun plot with Cesar Romero playing a magician.
One of the benefits of the restorations is that 20th Fox loads each disc with featurettes that give background information about the movies locale or the actors. Also, there is a reenactment of "Charlie Chan's Courage" (one of the 4 lost films) using the script, voice actors and production still photos.
As usual Chan solves each mystery, uses lots of old Chinese sayings, doesn't take itself too seriously, plus gives you a peek at what life was like almost 70 years ago.
Buy them and enjoy!