Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Charlie Chan in the Secret Service (1944)

Netflix recently made suggestions based on my interest in Charlie Chan in the Secret Service. Oh, yea, I thought. I saw that. I forgot to blog about it. Talking about staying power ...

Sidney Toler is back as America's favorite Asian stereotype. I've already covered the racism aspect of these films so let's take that as read. Thanks for building our railroads. We really appreciate it. As it turns out my criticism of the lack of clues leading to the conclusion from the first one holds true for this as well. Toler, in his annoying Chan cadence, points out clues he could not possibly have known. Everyone is a suspect until the very end. You have no chance of figuring it out yourself, except maybe to suspect the one person they don't highlight very much.

Here's how the story goes: scientist murdered, secret government plans stolen, dinner party guests suspects, Chan solves. Yawn.

This one was made earlier than Scarlet Clue and as it turns out, the first to feature my old friend, Mantan Moreland. Benson Fong also lends his uselessness to the mix. Chan niece Iris also tags along. Played by Marianne Quon, she was ... kinda cute. She didn't do a whole lot of acting in her life, and not that much here as it turns out.

Now I've seen two of these things and one thing is clear. A comedy/mystery that is neither funny nor a good mystery doesn't make for much of a movie. I liked Scarlet better because Mantan's bits were better. Having seen it first may have helped as well. AMRU 2.

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