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Chinatown Squad (1935)

Approved | | Action, Crime, Drama | 31 May 1935 (USA)
Police search for the killer of a man who misused $700,000 intended for the Chinese Communists.



(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Ted Lacey
Janet Baker
Sergeant McLeash
George Mason
Su Quong
Claude Palmer
John Yee (as E. Alyn [Fred] Warren)
Clay Clement ...
Earl Raybold
William Ward
Wallis Clark ...
Police Lieutenant Norris


Chinatown serves as the location where a Communist agent has been killed after he has been caught stealing money. The money was collected from Chinese people living in America. The police chase many leads and suspects until the killer is caught through the efforts of an ex-policeman turned bus driver. Written by Les Adams {longhorn1939@suddenlink.nt}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Crime | Drama | Mystery


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

31 May 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Den gula gåtan  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Shooting lasted from Mar. 18-Apr. 6, 1935, released May 31. See more »


Referenced in The Haunted World of Edward D. Wood Jr. (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

Been There, Done That
13 May 2017 | by See all my reviews

Ninety-Five per cent of everything is crud. That's Sturgeon's Law, named for its proponent, the great writer Ted Sturgeon. Dedicate yourself to studying any branch of the arts and you recognize its truth. Most of what people produce in any field is what they know will sell. Fine art sells through snobbery and novelty; popular art sells through people knowing what they're getting.

That's why every popular movie these days is a sequel or a series or part of a Cinematic Universe. Doing something new is risky. Even when it's well done, it may not be recognized. It probably won't be. With luck, its strong points will be recognized while the creator is alive. H.P. Lovecraft lived and worked in increasing poverty. Now he's considered a major component of the great American literary landscape. Philip K. Dick never earned more than $10,000 a year from his writing, and frequently less. Now movies based on his works get made every year. BLADE RUNNER came out the year he died, and the IMDb currently shows 29 movies based on his writing, produced or in some stage of production.

It's not that people are blind and need critics to tell them what's good. Critics rarely know, since they're mired in their own personal aesthetics, thinking it's something that's objective; or they have their own narrative to support.

After a while, you stop hoping that the next movie you see and review for these pages is a great movie. You hope for some individual component you can praise, and then you hope for competence, with maybe something to add to your narrative about the evolution of the art. Then you hope for something early in the evolution of a great artist, before he knew what he was doing, looking for the roots of greatness, Finally, you look for another title to check off your list. Been there, done that.

CHINATOWN SQUAD is a been-there-done-that. Oh, I had hopes for a while. The screenplay is credited to Dore Schary, but it's a competent whodunnit with everything hanging off the fact that no one can get a straight story from Valerie Hobson. It has several elements that made me hope I was seeing something in the evolution of Film Noir, with its San Francisco setting, its fog and shadows and occasional Dutch Angle shot. It isn't though. It's another potboiler with some snappy patter and a couple of minutes' worth of location shooting in San Francisco to keep the audience amused.

Director Murray Roth would die a couple of years later, about the time Dore Schary would hit it big with BOYS' TOWN; Lyle Talbot's career would continue to slide, Valerie Hobson would return to England, where she would distinguish herself; everyone would cash their pay checks and, with luck, go on to the next job. The movie would play the circuits for a year or two, then go back into the vaults for eighty years. Because there's nothing very wrong with this movie, but nothing to distinguish it among several hundred feature films released in 1935.

Well, on to the next one. Here's hoping for better.

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