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
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 »
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 »
Opening credit: Warner Oland vs. Boris Karloff See more »
A madman loose in an opera house is the background for Charlie Chan to investigate a double murder of leading singers in Charlie Chan At The Opera. Son Lee Chan played by Keye Luke even gets in the act as a member of the chorus with his fraternity buddies.
Boris Karloff is the madman, but if I had gone through what he had been through I'm sure I would have become unhinged myself. Some years back Karloff was trapped in a burning opera house by his cheating wife and her tenor lover. He was presumed dead and burned up, but in fact has been an amnesiac patient in a mental asylum. A glance at a newspaper story about the opera brought his memory and a resolve to escape the asylum and seek out his tormentors.
This probably was Karloff's way of playing and not playing the Phantom Of The Opera. As he was in the Frankenstein films or playing The Mummy, Karloff is both a frightening yet pitiable figure. He truly steals this film from Warner Oland as Charlie Chan.
As for Oland he has to solve a pair of murders that occur while Karloff is on the loose. In that he has to work with thick as a brick police sergeant William Demarest. In fact Demarest makes a few racial remarks in Oland's direction, but in the end he's a convert to the wisdom of Chinese parables.
This is one of the best Charlie Chan features and one of the best of the Oland Chan films which were given much better production than later when the series moved to Monogram.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?