Charlie receives fourteen free passes to the circus for him and his entire family but soon realizes that there are strings attached as the big top's co-owner asks his guest to investigate threatening letters that he's received. Before the famous detective can, the man is murdered. Charlie soon finds out that the co-owner was not a particularly pleasant or well-liked individual, and among the many suspects are his partner, a snake charmer and the menagerie's gorilla. Son Lee, usually an enthusiastic assistant for his father, is distracted by the show's beautiful contortionist. Written by
Gabe Taverney (email@example.com)
Rousing entry in the Charlie Chan series is one of the best. Charlie (Warner Oland) takes his sizable family to the circus at the invitation of one of the circus owners, who has been receiving threatening letters and wants Charlie to investigate. When the owner is murdered, all clues point to an escaped gorilla the man was abusive to. But Charlie's not so sure and gets to work investigating the murder, with help from "Number One Son" Lee (Keye Luke).
It's great to see Charlie's wife and all of the Chan kids. They're so adorable. Keye Luke is charming as ever, especially when he flirts with a contortionist. The circus performers are fun to watch. The two midgets, George and Olive Brasno, receive prominent billing right after Keye Luke. I assume they were well-known at the time. They're both good actors and I liked their dance number. J. Carrol Naish also appears and is enjoyable to watch, as always.
This is a very entertaining movie. Fast pace, interesting setting, and nice doses of humor make it a real treat. Probably my second favorite in the whole series. Oh, and pay attention to the scene where the characters Blake and Kinney fight. Blake punches like a girl! It's hilarious! This one's also got a guy in a gorilla suit, which is always a win.
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