Wednesday, July 27, 2016

1935 - CHARLIE CHAN IN EGYPT, enjoyable throwback to a different time

No one would mistake this film for a piece of cinematic art but it does have it's pleasures.  Chinese detective Charlie Chan is on the trail of some Egyptian artifacts stolen from a tomb that is being excavated.  He gets involved in a couple of murders and wraps the whole thing up in under 90 minutes.

Usually these Chan films had the participation of  his "#1 or #2" sons but Chan is on his own with help from the black actor Stepin Fetchit !  Seen today  the Stepin Fetchit character is pretty intense as he promotes some of the worse stereotypes of black Americans.  However Charlie Chan does not treat him in a condescending manner which is apparently left up to all the white people in the cast to take up the patronizing slack on the one black character in the film.

The mystery is a convoluted mess to put it mildly.  However I have to give the writers credit for devising weird ways to kill some of the characters off.  Nobody gets the best of mild mannered Charlie Chan who is always two steps ahead of the local police in solving the crime. 

The film is poorly directed and has to rely on Warner Oland ( a Swedish American actor) to pull the picture through.  The film is also notable for an early appearance of 40's sex symbol Rita Hayworth.

73 minutes.

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