20 user 3 critic

The Mandarin Mystery (1936)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 23 December 1936 (USA)
Two murders are committed and a $50,000 Chinese Mandarin stamp is stolen, tossed around and eventually recovered as an aggregation of costly-stamp counterfeiters are uncovered through the mastermind investigation by Ellery Queen.



(story, 'The Chinese Orange Mystery') (as Ellery Queen), (story, 'The Chinese Orange Mystery') (as Ellery Queen) | 4 more credits »

Watch Now

Free at Internet Archive



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A private detective finds himself with a perfect new secretary. But after a notorious gossip columnist turns up murdered, she may prove too good to be true.

Director: Philip Ford
Stars: Adele Mara, Warren Douglas, William Frawley
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A famous detective is invited to a swanky party at an elegant mansion, but before the night is over he finds himself involved with gangsters, blackmail and murder.

Director: Frank R. Strayer
Stars: John Miljan, Irene Ware, Iris Adrian
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A young married couple whose plans for their life together haven't turned out as expected decide to rob the bank where the husband works of $100,000, then hide the money in a safe place and... See full summary »

Director: James Cruze
Stars: Richard Cromwell, Helen Mack, Lionel Atwill
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A man dreams he committed murder, then begins to suspect it was real.

Director: Maxwell Shane
Stars: Paul Kelly, DeForest Kelley, Ann Doran
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A WWII veteran goes back to England after the war only to discover that his wartime sweetheart has got mixed up with a dangerous spy ring.

Director: Cy Endfield
Stars: Lloyd Bridges, Moira Lister, Alan Wheatley
Half a Sinner (1940)
Adventure | Comedy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Although young and beautiful, schoolteacher Anne Gladden fears a dull future. She finally decides to take a walk on the wild side, splurging on some fashionable new clothes and setting off ... See full summary »

Director: Al Christie
Stars: Heather Angel, John 'Dusty' King, Constance Collier
Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

When gang chief Big Mike Morgan is killed, his lieutenant, "Doc" Rogers re-organizes the mob. Learning that Morgan has a son named Edward , living in the country with his mother, Rogers has... See full summary »

Director: Arthur Dreifuss
Stars: Richard Cromwell, Mary Carlisle, Robert Armstrong
The Capture (1950)
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A badly injured fugitive explains to a priest how he came to be in his present predicament.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Lew Ayres, Teresa Wright, Victor Jory
The Last Mile (1932)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Richard Walters is condemned to death for a murder he claims not to have committed. He arrives on death row just before a brutal inmate leads the other convicts in a violent uprising. ... See full summary »

Director: Samuel Bischoff
Stars: Howard Phillips, Preston Foster, George E. Stone
Inner Sanctum (1948)
Film-Noir | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A man fleeing the police after having committed a murder hides out in a boarding house in a small town.

Director: Lew Landers
Stars: Charles Russell, Mary Beth Hughes, Dale Belding
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In 1820s New England beautiful but poor and manipulative Jenny Hager marries rich old man Isaiah Poster but also seduces his son and his company foreman.

Directors: Edgar G. Ulmer, Douglas Sirk
Stars: Hedy Lamarr, George Sanders, Louis Hayward
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Flamarion, expert marksman, is entertaining people in a show which features Connie, beautiful woman and her husband Al. Flamarion and Connie fall in love and decide to get rid of the ... See full summary »

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Erich von Stroheim, Mary Beth Hughes, Dan Duryea


Cast overview, first billed only:
Josephine Temple
Martha Kirk
Wade Boteler ...
Dr. Alexander Kirk
Irene Kirk
William Newell ...
Detective Guffy
Donald Trent
Edwin Stanley ...
Howard Bronson
Edgar Allen ...
Newspaper Reporter
Walter Merrill ...
Craig the Thief (as Anthony Merrill)
Richard Beach ...
Monte Vandergrift ...
Detective (as Monte Vandegrift)
Girl on Street Corner


A very rare and priceless Chinese postage stamp is stole as its thief claims two victims in a hotel,, both of whom are murdered in inexplicably locked rooms. Young Ellery romances the stamps beautiful owner, Josephie Temple, while working with his father, Inspector Queen to solve the baffling case and expose the killer. Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Release Date:

23 December 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Chinese Orange Mystery  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor High Fidelity Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Mandarian Mystery was based on "The Chinese Orange Mystery" by Ellery Queen. See more »


Josephine Temple: [looking at Ellery and his father] A pair of Queens is hard to beat.
Josephine Temple: [hinting at marriage] Three Queens is better!
See more »


Referenced in Ellery Queen's Penthouse Mystery (1941) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Eddie Quillan is charming as Ellery Queen, but the film does not resemble the source novel
14 December 2004 | by (south Texas USA) – See all my reviews

The literary work on which this film was based--THE Chinese ORANGE MYSTERY--is a locked-room murder mystery that is light on characterization but heavy on the puzzle aspect of the murder, where no one knows who the victim is, the victim's clothes have all been turned inside out, and everything in the murder room has been turned backward. To do a faithful film adaptation of the book would probably be difficult, especially for a 55-minute b-movie which needs to be fast-moving and witty. In the Ellery Queen film made the year before, THE Spanish CAPE MYSTERY, which was an OK film, the filmmakers basically streamlined the plot, but were unable to give much depth or interest to any of the characters (other than Ellery and Inspector Queen). THE MANDARIN MYSTERY takes elements of the book THE Chinese ORANGE MYSTERY--a rare stamp, a murder in a locked room, some of the character names--and basically creates a new story around them. I had just re-read the novel before seeing this film, but they have little in common. If you can forget the book and just treat the film as an entity of its own, it's not that bad. Eddie Quillan is a charming screen presence, and he tries to restrain his comic mugging somewhat, but the script does not allow him to show much analytical prowess, and he spends far more effort romantically chasing the girl who is the main suspect than he does working on the crime. Wade Boteler plays Inspector Queen well--professional, but with a warm heart--and he and Ellery do show glimpses of the rapport they have in the books (and in the Jim Hutton/David Wayne TV series). On the whole, though, this film is an average 30s murder mystery, played with a light touch by a charming comic actor, but it has little to do with either the novel on which it was supposedly based or with the Ellery Queen series in general.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Mandarin Mystery (1936) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: