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[DVD Review] TCM Spotlight: The Charlie Chan Collection

Charlie Chan definitely has a place among the pantheon of famous fictional detectives. He is certainly one of the more controversial ones. Although Chan is undoubtedly a hero, many Asians resent the character as an ethnic stereotype. Chan is polite and soft spoken, never lacking an appropriate old Chinese proverb to suit the occasion.

The character of Charlie Chan was created by Earl Derr Biggers in 1923 as a rebuttal to the “Yellow Peril” stereotypes so common in literature of the day, such as Fu Manchu. Biggers lived in Hawaii and resented the unflattering Asian clichés so he invented a benign Chinese Investigator working for the Honolulu Police Force. He wrote several Chan novels. The honorable Chinese Detective became so popular that he was soon adapted into film. There were many Chan films, starting in the silent film era. Early films actually starred Chinese actors but the Audience didn’t respond to Asian Leading men.
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