Charlie Chan on Broadway (1937)

One of many films starring the Charlie Chan character, popularized by the actor Warner Oland. In this film, Charlie and his son Lee have to investigate the murder of a singer whose tell-all diary has gone missing.

This was another film I watched for my film course. I don’t think I would have gone out of my way to come across this film, to be honest. While it is rather fun, it is not the sort of film I enjoy watching on a regular basis.

Even though this film only had a runtime of around about 1hr 10 minutes, it seemed to drag on for a bit. Chan’s son Lee (Keye Luke) provided plenty of comic relief in his scenes, but for the most part he and Oland worked well together as a father-son pairing. Oland’s Chan is obviously a man who is supposed to be very wise and he has some memorable lines. However, the title of this film makes no sense. Yes, the boat docks in New York but apart from that the links to Broadway are tenuous at best and the title is a bit of a misnomer.

Of course the plot is nonsensical and a bit boring but the colourful central characters made the film at least watchable. I don’t think this film should be looked at as a complete film in itself, but rather one of a series (it was number #15 in the Charlie Chan film series.) and its the sort of film which would probably be shown at a cinema as part of a double bill or something along those lines. Has this film encouraged me to watch more Charlie Chan films? Nah. Not particularly. In this instance, it seems to be that when you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

MY RATING: **.5 / *****



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