Torchy Blane in Chinatown (1939)

Passed  |   |  Action, Comedy, Crime  |  4 February 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 211 users  
Reviews: 10 user

Torchy Blane has to solve a blackmail case.



(characters), (original story "The Purple Hieroglyph") (as Will Jenkins) , 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Glenda Farrell ...
Tom Kennedy ...
Henry O'Neill ...
Senator Baldwin
Captain Condon
Mr. Mansfield
Janet Shaw ...
Janet Baldwin
Frank Shannon ...
George Guhl ...
Anderson Lawler ...
Richard Bond ...
Eddy Chandler ...
Captain McDonald (as Ed Chandler)


Newspaper reporter "Torchy" Blaine and police detective Steve McBride are on the trail of an Oriental gang that has committed three murders. Also on hand is a fabricated Scotland Yard operative who is a phony, and has two others assisting him in an effort to throw the police department off the trail; they are trying to exhort $250,000 from a young rich man who is trying to marry a senator's daughter. A submarine gets involved. Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

4 February 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El jade fatal  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Although the onscreen credits state this is an original story, it is actually a remake of Murder Will Out (1930), which has a virtually identical plot and uses many of the same character names. See more »


The Senator states that he is going to announce his daughter's engagement at a party at his Long Island house in three days, on Friday, in the evening. To shift the movie to the party a copy of the party invitation is shown. The invitation announces that the party is on Monday. See more »


Det. Lt. Steve 'Mac' McBride: Let's go into the other room so I can think.
Torchy Blane: With what?
See more »


Follows Smart Blonde (1937) See more »


Love Is Where You Find It
Music by Harry Warren
Played when McBride pulls Senator Baldwin aside at the engagement party
See more »

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User Reviews

Good Story but Weak Direction
6 May 2013 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Torchy Blane in Chinatown (1939)

** (out of 4)

The seventh film in the series finds Torchy (Glena Farrell) once again getting in the way as Detective McBride (Barton MacLane) tries to figure out who killing off a group of people with a connection to some valuable Chinese treasures. TORCHY BLANE IN CHINATOWN seems like it would fit the Mr. Moto or Charlie Chan series better but there's no question that this features an interesting story but sadly director William Beaudine can't add any life, energy or excitement to anything we're seeing. The story itself is pretty good and in fact it was interesting enough to make one upset that more wasn't being done with it. This story from Murray Leinster was originally filmed in 1920 and then again in 1930 but I've yet to see either version. The material here actually makes for a good mystery and I especially liked how one never fully understood why the murders were taking place. A great example of this is handled with various cards being left behind at crime scenes telling the cops who will die next. Another benefit this film has is that we're given a pretty strong cast. Farrell is once again highly entertaining and charming in her role. MacLane appears to be tired of his career and bored playing it because he pretty much sleepwalks through the film. The supporting cast is actually good with Tom Kennedy returning for comic relief and we also get Henry O'Neill, Patric Knowles and James Stephenson. What really kills the movie is the bad pacing, poor cinematography and the lack of any real energy. Director Beaudine probably kept the film under budget but he just wasn't able to add anything extra to the story. No matter how good the story is you still still someone to bring it to life and that just never happened.

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