7.3/10
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21 user 8 critic

City in Darkness (1939)

Approved | | Drama, Mystery, Thriller | 1 December 1939 (USA)
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.

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(screen play), (screen play) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Richard Clarke ...
Tony Madero (as Richard Clark)
...
Marcel
...
Antoine (as Pedro De Cordoba)
...
Charlotte Ronnell
...
Prefect of Police J. Romaine
...
Petroff (as Douglas Dumbrille)
...
Belescu
...
Louis Santelle (as Leo Carroll)
...
Pierre
Louis Mercier ...
Max
George Davis ...
Alex
Barbara Leonard ...
Lola
...
Landlady
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Storyline

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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | Mystery | Thriller | War

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 December 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlie Chan na Cidade das Trevas  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was first telecast in Detroit Monday 21 December 1953 on WXYZ (Channel 7), in New York City Saturday 30 January 1954 on WCBS (Channel 2), in Los Angeles Sunday 23 May 1954 on KNBH (Channel 4), and in San Francisco Thursday 16 June 1955 on KRON (Channel 4). See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Louis Santelle: [to Charlie] You know a lot about this acid. Did you ever have a taste of it?
See more »

Connections

Followed by The Jade Mask (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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