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CHARLIE CHAN IN PARIS (director: Lewis Seiler; screenwriters: from a story by Philip MacDonald/Edward T. Lowe/Stuart Anthony; cinematographer: Ernest Palmer; cast: Warner Oland (Charlie Chan), Keye Luke (Lee Chan), Mary Brian (Yvette Lamartine), Thomas Beck (Victor), Dorothy Appleby (Nardi), Erik Rhodes (Max Corday), Murray Kinnell (Henri Latouche), Minor Watson (Inspector Renard), John Miljan (Albert Dufresne), Henry Kolker (Mr. Lamartine); Runtime: 72; 20th Century Fox; 1935)
“A solid action episode, featuring a chase through the Paris sewers.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Honolulu-based detective Charlie Chan (Oland) comes to the City of Light to go after counterfeiters. He has been hired by a London bank to investigate fraudulent bonds. He’s greeted at the airport by a bum asking for a handout, and the same bum is seen at the scene of later crimes.

A rock thrown breaks Charlie’s taxi window and the note attached warns Charlie to leave town. Charlie’s to meet his associate, Nardi (Appleby), who is a cabaret dancer, and after her show Charlie is promised important info on the counterfeiters.

In his hotel Charlie finds Number One Son, Lee (Luke), and tells him he’s not on a vacation but is working secretly on a delicate case. Charlie then visits the son of the banking head he is working for, Victor (Beck). Victor’s working as a teller in the Lamartine Bank, as his father wishes he start at the bottom. Victor’s friends drop in for a social call: an artist Max Corday (Rhodes), the artist’ girlfriend, and Victor’s girlfriend Yvette (Brian). Max makes an ethnic slur against Charlie and apologizes by giving Charlie a sketch of himself. They go to watch Nardi perform, and the same bum from the airport bumps into Max outside the theater. When Nardi concludes her dance, the bum throws a knife at her while she’s on a couch. Before she dies, she tells Charlie to search her apartment. There he finds a note saying Albert Dufresne (Miljan) is spending more than what he makes in the bank on gambling.

Charlie visits the head of the Lamartine Bank and tells him about the counterfeit bonds. Yvette also visits her father for money but while there, Albert, her father’s assistant and her ex-boyfriend, threatens to show Victor her love letters. At night she returns to Albert’s apartment to get the letters, but the bum sneaked in through the balcony and kills Albert. Yvette gets blamed for the murder when the bum throws the gun into the room and she is holding the gun as the police arrive.

The story unfolds like a routine Charlie Chan mystery. There will be one more suspect, someone who works at the bank, Latouche, who seems to have an uncalled for curiosity about Chan’s investigation.

A solid action episode, featuring a chase through the Paris sewers. It also gave one a tourist’s eye view of Paris, which was actually the back lot of the studio.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”