Some families have reunionsthis one has alibis! In this thrilling 1945 endeavor, Charlie Chan (Sidney Toler) finds himself at odds with an entire family, any one of whom could be a killer! "Helped" by his pseudo-intellect... more »ual Number Four Son (Edwin Luke) and his panicky assistant Birmingham Brown (Mantan Moreland), Charlie investigates the recent murder of a brilliant but much-loathed scientist (Frank Reicher) who invented a gas that makes wood as strong as steel. But the investigation is anything but elementary, as Charlie sleuths his way through suspicious scientists, sultry sisters, a silent cousin and a butler with a very stiff upper lip!« less
A good Monogram entry with an eerie mystery and good humor!
Marc Capralis | Temecula, CA United States | 08/23/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of my favorite Chan films from Monogram studios. The opening resembles a Monogram horror movie with spooky music at the foggy, eerie Harper estate. This film introduces Chan's Number 4 son Eddie, a pseudo-intellectual played by Edwin Luke, brother of Keye Luke. This was his only appearance in a Charlie Chan movie. Chan is assisted by the self-deprecating, hayseed Sheriff Mack. Their collaboration makes this Chan entry more interesting than some others. The murder mystery holds your interest and keeps you guessing all through the film. The comic, Mantan Moreland as Birmingham has some funny material here, and I find the ending of this film with the hayseed sheriff and Birmingham one of the funniest endings to a film I have ever seen! Chan's classic saying here is "Murder know no law of relativity". Strongly recommended for Chan fans!"
Middling Monogram Chan, but fans will enjoy it
Scott MacGillivray | Massachusetts, USA | 02/07/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the low-budget "Charlie Chan" mysteries produced by Monogram Pictures. This time the murder victim (more precisely, the first of several victims!) is a scientist that everyone has good reason to hate. Chan steps in on the government's behalf to solve the mystery of how "dead men walk." Some decent performances (Mantan Moreland, Frank Reicher, Hardie Albright, and especially Alan Bridge as the hayseed sheriff), but the characters aren't as colorful, the direction not as brisk, and Charlie's inquisitive offspring not as engaging as usual. The mystery will definitely keep you guessing, however. This and star Sidney Toler are the main assets."
Introducing Edwin Luke
Patrick Doherty | Birmingham, Alabama, USA | 06/26/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"THE JADE MASK is a fairly good Chan film with a plot about a diabolical genius who is trying to interrupt the Amarican war effort through a series of murders, including that of a key scientist.Chan is played by Sidney Toler and he is joined by Edwin Luke as Eddie Chan, the number three son.The cast also includes the talented comic Manton Moreland as well as Janet Warren and Edith Evanson.
The movie was produced by James S. Burkett and directed by Phil Rosen. George Callahan wrote the screenplay."
Among the Best of the Monogram Chan Films
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 10/31/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Loosely based on novels by Earl Derr Biggers, 20th Century Fox's Charlie Chan series proved an audience favorite--but when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor the studio feared audiences would turn against its Asian hero. This was a miscalculation: actor Sidney Toler took the role to "poverty row" Monogram Studios, where he continued to portray the character in eleven more films made between 1944 and his death in 1947.
20th Century Fox had regarded the Chan films as inexpensive "B" movies, but even so the studio took considerable care with them: the plots were often silly, but the pace was sharp, the dialogue witty, and the casts (which featured the likes of Bela Lugosi and Ray Milland) always expert. The result was a kindly charm which has stood the test of time. Monogram was a different matter: Chan films were "B" movies plain and simple. Little care was taken with scripts or cast and resulting films were flat, usually mediocre at best, virtually unwatchable at worst.
Released in 1945, THE JADE MASK is one of the very few Monograms that approaches the quality level of the 20th Century Fox series. This largely due to the expert cast and witty script, both of which are a bit unusual for Monogram. In this particular tale, Chan--who now works for the government during World War II--is called upon to investigate the murder of a scientist working with potentially beneficial but distinctly deadly gasses. Sidney Toler's Chan is always enjoyable, and he is aided in this by the local sheriff (Alan Bridge, who has the best lines in the film) and the inevitable Birmingham Brown (Mantan Moreland.)
Fans of the 20th Century Fox series are likely to find Monogram's Chan a significant disappointment and newcomers who like the Monogram films will probably consider them third-rate after encountering the Fox films. Even so, THE JADE MASK is unexpectly good, and I think most Chan fans will find it enjoyable.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer"
A Strange Charlie Chan Flick
Craig Connell | Lockport, NY USA | 02/26/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the strangest Charlie Chan films I've even seen, probably because many of the suspects were so weird. That, and the building in which most of the action takes place - with all its secret and motorized panels - is odd to see.
The story: an unpopular family member-a scientist, "Dr. Harper," (Frank Reicher) has developed a chemical that makes wood as strong as steel. Our government could use this, especially in time of war, so they are obviously concerned when the scientist is found murdered. They call on Charlie to help solve the case and get the formula.
Charlie winds up getting help from his Number Four Son "Eddie," someone I never saw in any other Chan films. He was the bespectacled "intellectual" son in the family and another likable Chan.
Anyway, someone is after the formula - for the money it could bring them - and is culprit is probably from the big family where the doctor was working. All of these people are portrayed as guilty-looking so the audience (you and me) has a hard time figuring out who's the killer.
The "whodunnit" is wrapped up in the end with a gathering of everyone while Chan explains his discoveries. Unlike most Chan films, however, the ending was unsatisfying and bit unrealistic. "