Charlie Chan at the Opera (1936)

Unrated  |   |  Comedy, Musical, Mystery  |  8 January 1937 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 1,494 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 9 critic

A dangerous amnesiac escapes from an asylum, hides in the opera house, and is suspected of getting revenge on those who tried to murder him 13 years ago.


(screen play), (screen play) (as Charles S. Belden) , 2 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Thomas Beck ...
Phil Childers
Margaret Irving ...
Mme. Lilli Rochelle
Gregory Gaye ...
Enrico Barelli
Nedda Harrigan ...
Mme. Anita Barelli
Frank Conroy ...
Mr. Whitely
Guy Usher ...
Inspector Regan
Sergeant Kelly
Maurice Cass ...
Mr. Arnold
Tom McGuire ...


Gravelle, a former baritone believed dead after an opera house fire, has been languishing in a mental institution for the past seven years, an anonymous amnesiac. When he fortuitously sees a news story about his former wife's current appearance at the local opera, his memory returns. He escapes, and, disguised in costume, seeks revenge for a failed attempt on his life years earlier. When the guilty parties are found stabbed to death, Charlie Chan and son Lee try to find out if the dangerous fugitive is the one responsible. Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A fiendish killer lurks at the opera! Weird! Thrilling! The Master Minds of Crime Match Wits Against Each Other!


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Release Date:

8 January 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlie Chan en la ópera  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The thirteenth of sixteen Charlie Chan movies starring Warner Oland. See more »


When they characters are all gathered in the dressing room after the murders and they are questioning Childers, he says he knew Madame Barelli well. What he actually meant to say Madame Rochelle (or Madame Lilli as she was being referred to). See more »


[first lines]
Sanitarium Guard 1: What's the mater Joe? Nervous?
Sanitarium Guard 2: Aw this job gives me gooseflesh. You're new here, but in a couple of months you'll get as jumpy as me.
Sanitarium Guard 1: Hey I've worked around sanitariums before, it's not so bad. I like the cuckoos myself. They're the same as anyone else only they're smart enough to admit they're nuts.
See more »


Followed by Castle in the Desert (1942) See more »


Carnival: Carnival, Then Farewell
Music by Oscar Levant
Libretto by William Kernell
See more »

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User Reviews

slight disagreement re music
13 February 2005 | by (Neenah, WI) – See all my reviews

According to my sources, there seems to be a slight disagreement on the singing in this movie. Denis Gifford's Karloff bio says that Karloff did his own singing (and he could have; he was a fair baritone and sang in the Dulwich College chorus). Oscar Levant's autobiography claims that Karloff was dubbed. Oscar Levant, however, seems to have been writing from an unreliable memory, as he gets other details wrong including the movie synopsis. There are three singing voices heard in the movie: soprano, tenor, and baritone. The tenor was never seen, but was heard onstage while Chan and Number One Son were backstage. Both actresses playing sopranos were synching to the same recording. Karloff may also have been synching to a recording, but it could well have been his own, both for the reason given above and because Levant's opera was written for the movie--no previous recordings existed at the time, and why would the studio have spent extra money on a second singer for a B-budget film when they already had someone on the film who could handle the baritone singing? (Even the Faust costume worn by both baritones onstage was secondhand--it was first worn by Lawrence Tibbett in "Metropolitan", filmed earlier in 1936!)

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