With Charlie Chan distracted by the imminent birth of his first grandchild, young Tommy Chan persuades his older brother Jimmy (eager to be a detective) to take Pop's place when a call comes in directing Charlie to investigate a murder aboard a freighter. Charlie eventually learns of this and boards the ship to straighten out its slew of suspects, a cargo hold full of wild animals, and two well-meaning but ineffectual sons. Written by
Hollywood, California, Monday, October 17, 1938: Darryl F. Zanuck has selected Sidney Toler to play the role of Charlie Chan, succeeding the late Warner Oland. His first picture will be "Charlie Chan in Honolulu" which will start production October 24, with John Stone as the associate producer. Toler was discovered by Sol M. Wurtzel when he looked at rushes of Up the River (1938), current 20th Century-Fox picture in which Toler is a featured player. See more »
Jimmy Chan's new calling card reads, in part "...Associated with Charlie Chan, Private Detective...". Charlie is not a private detective, rather a Lieutenant on the Honolulu Police Department. See more »
This has to be the wildest of the Charlie Chan movies I've seen. It was Sidney Toler's first effort in the lead role, replacing Warner Oland, and it featured more comedy than any other Chan film to that point.
In this film, Chan and his number two son Tommy, his number five son Charlie Jr., and others including a doctor who keeps a live brain in his suitcase, all provide laughs. Along the way is a funny-faced lunatic animal keeper and a lion on the loose. They provide a lot of laughs.
As far as suspects go, there is a strange psychiatrist (the one with the portable brain), two pretty women, two ship's captains, a guy disguised as a cop and his suspect. I told you it was wild. It's too difficult to figure out "whodunnit," so you just sit back and enjoy the wild action and humor.