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Charlie Chan in City in Darkness (1939)

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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 771 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 9 critic

While in Paris for a reunion on the eve of World War II, Charlie finds that the murder of an hated businessman leads him to a conspiracy to smuggle arms to Germany.



(screen play), (screen play), 3 more credits »
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Title: Charlie Chan in City in Darkness (1939)

Charlie Chan in City in Darkness (1939) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lynn Bari ...
Marie Dubon
Richard Clarke ...
Tony Madero (as Richard Clark)
Harold Huber ...
Pedro de Cordoba ...
Antoine (as Pedro De Cordoba)
Dorothy Tree ...
Charlotte Ronnell
C. Henry Gordon ...
Prefect of Police J. Romaine
Petroff (as Douglas Dumbrille)
Noel Madison ...
Louis Santelle
Louis Mercier ...
George Davis ...
Barbara Leonard ...
Adrienne D'Ambricourt ...


Chan goes to Paris for a reunion with friends from World War I. There he investigates the murder of a munitions manufacturer who was supplying arms to the enemy. At the end Charlie preaches to us about the dangers of peace conferences. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


PARIS! BLACKOUT!...but there's no blackout for crime...and the great detective is commandeered!






Release Date:

1 December 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlie Chan in City in Darkness  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The twenty-third of forty-seven Charlie Chan movies. See more »


When Harold Huber is thrown from the raised doorway of the hotel steps by the bouncer, the mattress on the cobblestones can be seen in the shot. See more »


[last lines]
Charlie Chan: A wise man once said, "Beware of spider who invites fly into his place for tea."
See more »


Followed by The Red Dragon (1945) See more »

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User Reviews

Pre-war Paris as setting for weak spy melodrama
3 June 2002 | by (Corrales, NM) – See all my reviews

Maybe it was the play that forms the basis of this tale, maybe the return to previous screenwriters, or a new director, or whatever…but this is one of the weakest Sidney Toler Chan films done at 20th Century Fox. Not much of a mystery – more a propaganda film about the coming war and the need to beware of traitors who would sell and ship arms to the enemy and who need clearance papers that disguise munitions as fruit.

One of the few films without one of his offspring (he admits to having 5 sons here). Chan plays instead off Marcel, secretary and godson to the Paris Chief of Police. Audiences were probably being conditioned to regard the French as future allies; hence Marcel explains that he is really the son of the Bucharest Chief of Police – thus maligning Romania instead. Harold Huber has done a much more subtle and effective job at comedy in the Chan series. Pedro de Cordoba does splendidly as a dignified gentleman's gentleman Antoine and WWI veteran who sees his son off to the next conflict. AMC gives second billing in this film to Lon Chaney, Jr., but in reality his is a bit part preceding his more memorable appearance in `Of Mice and Men' the same year. He must have needed the work.

There are enough clues, misdirections, and suspects to keep the outcome up in the air but we are not made to really care. The murdered man deserved to be murdered and who did it matters little. There are sufficient clues for an observant viewer to arrive at the solution along with Chan.

Not one of the better or even good Chan films. See this only to round out the series. As Chan said in this film: `To describe bitter medicine will not improve its flavor.'

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