Charlie's visit to Paris, ostensibly a vacation, is really a mission to investigate a bond-forgery racket. But his agent, apache dancer Nardi is killed before she can tell him much. The case, complicated by a false murder accusation for banker's daughter Yvette, climaxes with a strange journey through the Paris sewers. Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Formerly Considered Lost, Paris is a Solid Series Entry
20th Century Fox recognized a money-spinner when it saw one. Between 1931 and 1942 the studio produced no fewer than 27 Charlie Chan films, first starring Warner Oland and later Sidney Toler. Unfortunately, of the sixteen films starring Warner Oland, four have been "lost." For a great many years, however, the number of "lost" films stood at five--until a single print of the 1935 CHARLIE CHAN IN Paris was located.
Like the earlier CHARLIE CHAN IN London, this film shows the series in full stride, a neat mixture of comedy and mystery bolstered by a solid cast. It is particularly notable as the first film in the series to introduce Chan's son Lee, memorably played by Asian-American actor Keye Luke, who would continue the role through several films. This episode finds Chan in, of course, Paris--pretending to be on vacation while in fact investigating counterfeit bank bonds in a mystery that leads Chan to the infamous sewers of the city.
Chan films, particularly those starring Oland, often use the device of allowing other characters to show vulgar racism toward Chan--and Chan often encourages such dismissiveness to his own ends; underestimation of Chan's talents often delivers the killer into the detective's hand. At times, however, the device has an unfortunate tone, and that occurs here, particularly in an early scene which presents Chan speaking in pidgin and then joining others in their laughter at the "joke." This sort of patronization would be soon dropped from the series, but it is significantly offensive when it occurs.
That aside, however, CHARLIE CHAN IN Paris is quite a good entry in the series, which features dancing spies, stolen love letters, and shots in the dark. The cinematography is typically static and the acting is a bit broad, as is typically of many mid-1930s films, but it's quite a bit of fun.
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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