"I loved the entire Charlie Chan series! These Monogram Chan films are very entertaining in my book. Sure the early ones were better (that could be said of any film series), but the movies in this set have become old friends. I have no complaints about this set. It's good fun! I just hope they put out the rest of the Charlie Chan series on DVD too."
Not the Best of Charlie Chan by a longshot...
Jon Ell | Aliso Viejo, CA United States | 01/12/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"As others have commented, these are the Monogram movies that came out post-WWII and not very good when compared to the earlier movies from Fox (featuring Sydney Toler with #2 son Victor Sen Young and before that Warner Oland with #1 son Keye Luke). While I don't want to discourage anyone from these, know that these are not the movies that Chan enthusiasts such as myself know and love and that there is much better that has not (yet) made it to DVD. I do hope someone at Fox or whoever owns the rights to these movies gets the message and releases *those* movies on DVD. This is like releasing a James Bond series but excluding the Sean Connery films. I really wished they would have released those earlier movies first and issued these later."
Charlie Chan Monogram series
Richie & Janice Urquhart | Durango, CO United States | 10/01/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with those other reviewers that these 6 are not the best. However I still enjoy them and glad that I purchased them. These 6 films are good fun but probably not as good as the FOX movies. I can't hardly remember them. However I think they are more about traveling to solve the mystery. I hope Fox will someday release them. I'd purchase them in a heartbeat."
" Monogram Charlie Chan Mysteries on DVD...Sidney Toler ~ MG
J. Lovins | Missouri-USA | 08/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"MGM Home Entertainment present "THE CHARLIE CHAN CHANTHOLOGY", featuring Sidney Toler as Honolulu detective Charlie Chan the popular Earl Derr Biggers character who took the country by storm in 1925...fighting for the underdog and on the side of good over evil, setting things right from wrong...Biggers penned the first Chan Book "The House Without A Key" while residing at the famous Halekulani Hotel...following the death of Warner Oland, Twentieth Century-Fox began the search for a new Charlie Chan... thirty-four actors were tested before the studio made their decision to choose Sidney Toler. Twentieth Century Fox announced their choice on October 18, 1938, and filming began less then a week later on Charlie Chan in Honolulu a film that had been originally scripted for Warner Oland and Keye Luke...Toler took on the role of Charlie Chan following Warner Oland's death in 1938, Toler's portrayal of the Chinese detective in Honolulu was very well received...besides Toler, there was another change in the series. Sen Yung, as Number Two Son Jimmy, replaced Number One Son Lee, who had been played by Keye Luke...Toler's Chan, rather than merely mimicking the character that Warner Oland had portrayed, had a somewhat sharper edge that was well suited for the rapid changes of the times, both political and cultural, that were on the horizon...Charlie Chan now directed well-intentioned sarcasm, usually toward his son Jimmy, when needed...however, there was never any doubt of the love that existed between father and son...although Mr. Chan might hurl a stinging barb, moments later he could often be seen offering loving comfort.
Disc One "CHARLIE CHAN IN THE SECRET SERVICE" (1944) (65 mins/B&W) ...under director Phil Rosen, produced by James S. Burkett and Philip N. Krasne, based on the character by Earl Derr Biggers, screenplay by George Callahan and James Callahan , musical direction by Karl Hajos. . . . .cast includes Sidney Toler (Charlie Chan), Gwen Kenyon (Inez Arranto), Mantan Moreland( Birmingham Brown), Marianne Quon (Iris Chan), Arthur Loft (Jones), Lelah Tyler (Mrs. Winters), Benson Fong (Tommie Chan), Eddy Chandler (Lewis), George Lessey (Slade), Muni Seroff (Peter Laska), George Lewis (Paul Arranto), Sarah Edwards (Mrs. Hargue), Gene Roth [Stutenroth] (Luiz Vega). . . . . . . our story begins with a murder that has been committed, nobody leaves the house, Charlie Chan is on his way... Mantan Moreland in his first appearance of the series who is more on the ball than the rest of the cast and keeps us rolling in the isles with his antics...Chan once again is working for the U.S. government assigned to investigate the mysterious death of an inventor...in this film Iris Chan is right in the thick of things helping her Dad solve the case, nice addition of Marianne Quon being cast as Iris Chan.
SPECIAL CHARLIE CHAN IN THE SECRET SERVICE QUOTE: 1. Charlie Chan: "Detective without curiosity is like glass eye in keyhole". 2. Charlie Chan: "If man places self in way of finger of suspicion, must not be surprised if he receive poke in the eye."
Disc Two: "CHARLIE CHAN IN THE CHINESE CAT" (1944) (65 mins/B&W)...under director Phil Rosen, produced by James S. Burkett and Philip N. Krasne , screenplay by George Callahan , based on the character by Earl Derr Biggers. . . . . cast includes Sidney Toler (Charlie Chan), Joan Woodbury (Leah Manning), Mantan Moreland (Birmingham Brown), Benson Fong (Tommie Chan), Jack Norton (Hotel Desk Clerk), Cy Kendall (Deacon), Dewey Robinson (Salos), Anthony Warde (Catlen), John Davidson (Kurt / Carl), George Chandler (Taxi Dispatcher), Sam Flint (Tom Manning), Betty Blythe (Mrs. Manning), Ian Keith (Recknick), I. Stanford Jolley, Weldon Heyburn (Harvey Dennis). . . . . . our story is a fast paced entry with enough mystery and surprises to keep us guessing during the hour of Chan bringing the guilty party to justice...Mantan Moreland is the reluctant cab driver with a Fun House scene that will keep you in stitches...a flood of suspects including a gang of diamond thieves and also a ghost to keep Charlie deducting from all sides of the spectrum...wonderful character actors backup the plot that will leave wanting more.
SPECIAL CHARLIE CHAN IN THE CHINSES CAT QUOTE: 1. Tommy Chan: "Pop, I've got a case that will knock your hat off!" 2. Charlie Chan: "Can remove hat without assistance, thank you". 3. Charlie Chan: "Expert is merely man who make quick decision - and is sometimes right". 4. Charlie Chan: "You talk like rooster, who thinks sun come up just to hear him crow". 5. Charlie Chan: "You should get married and raise large family. Once you have large family, all other troubles mean nothing". 6. Tommy Chan: "My gosh, Pop, are you a mind reader?" 7. Charlie Chan: "If mind not too small." 8. Charlie Chan: "Every time I meet a Chan, I meet trouble."
Disc Three: "THE JADE MASK" (1945) (66 mins/B&W)....under director Phil Rosen produced by James S. Burkett, based on the character by Earl Derr Biggers, screenplay by George Callahan...cast includes Sidney Toler (Charlie Chan), Mantan Moreland (Birmingham Brown), Edwin Luke (Edward), Janet Warren (Jean), Edith Evanson (Lousie), Al Bridge (Mack), Ralph Lewis (Kimball), Frank Reicher (Harper), Hardie Albright (Meeker), Cyril Delevanti (Roth), Dorothy Granger (Stella), Jack Ingram (Archer), Lester Dorr (Michael), Henry Hall (Inspector Godfrey), Joe Whitehead (Peabody). . . . . .our story has Charlie Chan with his new chauffer Birmingham (Mantan Moreland) and number four son (Edwin Luke) up to their neck with a spooky mansion, hidden lab, secret panels, inscrutable butler and greedy relatives who are smack dab in the middle of a murder....seems an eccentric scientist has been murdered, but where's the body and without a witness as the murder is committed in front of everyone on the Monogram Picture lot.
SPECIAL CHARLIE CHAN IN THE JADE MASK QUOTE: 1. Charlie Chan: "No barber shaves so close but another barber finds some work to do". 2. Charlie Chan: "To get information from him is like putting empty bucket into empty well". 3. Charlie Chan: "My boy, if silence is golden, you are bankrupt". 4. Charlie Chan: "Murder knows no law of relativity". 5. Charlie Chan: "Things misplaced sometimes furnish very good clues!"
Disc Four: CHARLIE CHAN IN MEETING AT MIDNIGHT (aka: "Charlie Chan in Black Magic") (1944) (67 mins/B&W)....under director Phil Rosen , produced by James S. Burkett and Philip N. Krasne, based on the character by Earl Derr Biggers, screenplay by George Callahan...cast includes Sidney Toler (Charlie Chan), Mantan Moreland (Birmingham Brown), Charles Jordan (Tom Starkey), Frank Jaquet (Paul Hamlin), Dick Gordon (Sonner), Ralph Peters (Rafferty), Geraldine Wall (Harriet Green), Frances Chan (Frances Chan), Joseph Crehan (Matthew), Helen Beverly (Norma Duncan), Edward Earle (Dawson), Harry Depp (Charles Edwards), Jacqueline De Wit (Justine Bonner), Claudia Dell (Vera Starkey). . . . .our story is loaded with spiritualists and occultists as Charlie tries to find the murderer during a seance...Mantan Moreland seems to be on the premises when the bodies are dropping like flies...this time Charlie has his daughter (Frances Chan - is her real name) giving him help or trouble whichever comes first, as she is the primary suspect...no clue is too small and Charlie makes the most out of everyone of them.
SPECIAL CHARLIE CHAN IN MEETING AT MIDNIGHT QUOTE: 1. Charlie Chan: "Shady business do not make for sunny life".
Disc Five: CHARLIE CHAN IN THE SCARLET CLUE (1945) (65 MINS/B&W)...under director Phil Rosen, produced by James S. Burkett, based on the character by Earl Derr Biggers, screenplay by George Callahan ..cast includes Sidney Toler .(Charlie Chan), Mantan Moreland (Birmingham Brown, Chauffeur), Virginia Brissac (Mrs. Marsh), Ben Carter (Ben Carter), Benson Fong (Tommy Chan), Robert Homans (Capt. Flynn), Jack Norton (Willie Rand), Janet Shaw (Gloria Bayne), Helen Deverell (Diane Hall (as Helen Devereaux), Victoria Faust (Hulda Swenson), Kernan Cripps (Detective), I. Stanford Jolley (Ralph Brett). . . . . .our story asks the question, where are the government radar papers and who took them and why...Charlie Chan, Birmingham and number three sons Tommy will leave no leaf unturned to find the answer...the crime was at a New York City radio station and all suspects seem to have a likely alibi...just when you think you've solved the mystery, they turn to tables and you're left without a clue.
SPECIAL CHARLIE CHAN IN THE SCARLET CLUE QUOTE: 1. Charlie Chan: "So many fish in fish market, even flower smell same". 2. Tommy Chan: "You know Pop, I've got an idea about this case". 3. Charlie Chan: "Yes, well?" 4. Tommy Chan: "Well, I had an idea, but it's gone now". 5. Charlie Chan: "Possibly could not stand solitary confinement". 6. Charlie Chan: "Number three son have excellent head, question always remain, what it contain!"
Disc Six: "CHARLIE CHAN IN THE SHANGHAI COBRA" (1945) (64 mins/B&W)... under director Phil Karlson , produced by James S. Burkett , based on the character by Earl Derr Biggers, screenplay by George Callahan and George Wallace Sayre , musical director Edward Kay..cast includes Sidney Toler (Charlie Chan), James Flavin (Jarvis), Benson Fong( Tommy Chan), Addison Richards (John Adams / Jan Van Horn), Mantan Moreland (Birmingham Brown), Joan Barclay (Paula Webb), Walter Fenner (Inspector Harry Davis), James B. Cardwell (Ned Stewart), Gene Roth [Stutenroth] (Morgan), Paul Newlan (Bank Guard), Janet Warren (Lorraine), George Chandler (Short Order Cook), Arthur Loft (Bradford Harris/Hume), Joe Devlin (Taylor), Roy Gordon (Walter Fletcher). . . . .our story gives a case for Charlie to investigates, as someone has a plan to take radium that is located in a bank...is Cobra responsible for several murders, as all three employees of a bank die from cobra venom...this plays out as a film-noir and Sidney Toler is in fine form...the screenplay comes through with an outstanding supporting cast of many veterans we've come to love over the years...would put this Chan film in the classic catagory of the entire series featuring Sidney Toler.
SPECIAL CHARLIE CHAN IN THE SHANGHAI COBRA QUOTE: 1. Charlie Chan: "Mice will never play as long as cat in house". 2. Charlie Chan: "Cannot sell bear skin without first shooting bear."
SPECIAL FEATURES BIOS: 1. Sidney Toler Birth Date: 4/28/1874 - Warrensburg, Missouri Died: 2/12/1947 - Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California 2. Mantan Moreland Birth Date: 9/03/1902 - Monroe, Louisiana Died: 9/28/1973 - Hollywood, California 3. Benson Fong Birth Date: 10/10/1916 - Sacramento, California Died: 8/01/1987 - Los Angeles, California
Special footnote, actor Sidney Toler starred in eleven Charlie Chan films for Monogram Pictures...many viewers generally rate these films as poor when compared to their Fox counterparts...but often contain memorable moments, such as the introduction of a number of Chan offsprings, and even a good picture or two such as "The Shanghai Cobra" (1945) and "Dark Alibi" (1946)...Toler immediately worked to gain the screen rights to the Charlie Chan character from Eleanor Biggers Cole, the widow of Chan's creator...Toler had hoped that Twentieth Century-Fox would distribute new Charlie Chan films if he could find someone willing to finance the new film series...Monogram, a low-budget film studio, picked up the series...Charlie Chan films were profitable for Monogram, changes were made, Jimmy was replaced by Benson Fong as Number Three Son Tommy and Mantan Moreland played the ever-present Birmingham Brown, who brought comedy relief to the series.. by the end of 1946, age and illness were affecting Toler, very ill during the filming and it was through an heroic effort worthy of Charlie Chan himself that Toler was able to complete his last film, "The Trap" in August of 1946.
FACT FROM THE VAULT: Created in a time when casting Caucasians in minority roles was considered acceptable, the Charlie Chan films continue to spark debate to this day.
Want to thank MGM Home Video for taking us back to those classic murder, mystery, mayhem with our ace detective...watching this legendary actor and his professional team of directors, writers as creator Earl Derr Biggers served up the best of the best during those early films of our favorite detective...wonderful character actors of the cinema brought back so many wonderful memories of the times when film makers cared about you who purchased a ticket and came back for more.
Total Time: 6-DVD-Set ~ MGM-DVD #1006677 ~ (7/06/2004)"
What A Pleasant Surprise!
Michael Zhu | Christchurch New Zealand | 07/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I only came to know Charlie Chan and his stories from some of the novels translated into Chinese, when I was still in China years back. I loved it instantly, not because of the sentiment that he was a Chinese, but because of the excellent suspense and witty writing successfully interwoven to create a unique detective with both western approach and oriental wisdom. In fact Charlie, as depicted in the novel, does not really appeal to me as a genuine Chinese, though he was seen everywhere in the stories as giving witty oriental quotes. he is very far away from contemporary China and as people of my age (70s) would not really recognize him as Chinese. That, however does not stop me from enjoying the stories and Charlie as a successfully created literary figure. It's so entertaining! I was so appralled to find out one day the news of this box release and didn't even hesitate to place the order right way. It's a must see for all detective story lovers!"