IMDb > City in Darkness (1939)
City in Darkness
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City in Darkness (1939) More at IMDbPro »


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Down 5% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Robert Ellis (screen play) and
Helen Logan (screen play) ...
View company contact information for City in Darkness on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1 December 1939 (USA) See more »
PARIS! BLACKOUT!...but there's no blackout for crime...and the great detective is commandeered!
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
(2 articles)
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User Reviews:
Surprisingly timely but also disappointing entry into the series See more (20 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Sidney Toler ... Charlie Chan
Lynn Bari ... Marie Dubon
Richard Clarke ... Tony Madero (as Richard Clark)
Harold Huber ... Marcel
Pedro de Cordoba ... Antoine (as Pedro De Cordoba)
Dorothy Tree ... Charlotte Ronnell
C. Henry Gordon ... Prefect of Police J. Romaine

Douglass Dumbrille ... Petroff (as Douglas Dumbrille)
Noel Madison ... Belescu

Leo G. Carroll ... Louis Santelle (as Leo Carroll)

Lon Chaney Jr. ... Pierre
Louis Mercier ... Max
George Davis ... Alex
Barbara Leonard ... Lola
Adrienne D'Ambricourt ... Landlady
Frederick Vogeding ... Captain (as Fredrik Vogeding)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Eugene Borden ... Gendarme (uncredited)
André Cheron ... Man wearing a robe in the hallway (uncredited)
Ann Codee ... Complainant at Police (uncredited)
Albert Conti ... Travel Agency Manager (uncredited)

Gino Corrado ... Proprietor of Wine Cellar (uncredited)
Jean De Briac ... Puppeteer (uncredited)
Jean Del Val ... French Cabby (uncredited)
Fred Farrell ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Harry Fleischmann ... Baptiste (uncredited)
Constant Franke ... Officer (uncredited)
Arno Frey ... Pilot (uncredited)
John George ... Victor - Notorious Patron of Gangland Bistro (uncredited)
Helen Giere ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Paul Irving ... Doctor (uncredited)
Jeanne Lafayette ... French Girl (uncredited)
Michael Mark ... Mechanic (uncredited)
Alphonse Martell ... Gendarme (uncredited)
Alberto Morin ... Clerk (uncredited)
Nita Pike ... Telephone Operator (uncredited)
Albert Pollet ... Cabby (uncredited)
Frank Puglia ... Gendarme at Steamship Office (uncredited)
Joseph Romantini ... Gendarme (uncredited)
Rolfe Sedan ... Hotel Clerk (uncredited)
Tom Seidel ... Phillip (uncredited)
Lester Sharpe ... Market Man (uncredited)
George Sorel ... Plainclothesman (uncredited)
Larry Steers ... Man Leaving Paris (uncredited)
Jacques Vanaire ... Gendarme (uncredited)
Veola Vonn ... French Girl (uncredited)
Poppy Wilde ... One of Petroff's Girlfriends (uncredited)
Marek Windheim ... Cabby (uncredited)

Directed by
Herbert I. Leeds 
Writing credits
Robert Ellis (screen play) and
Helen Logan (screen play)

Gina Kaus (based on a play by) and
Ladislas Fodor (based on a play by) (as Ladislaus Fodor)

Earl Derr Biggers (based on: the character "Charlie Chan" created by)

Produced by
John Stone .... associate producer
Cinematography by
Virgil Miller (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Harry Reynolds (film editor)
Art Direction by
Lewis H. Creber  (as Lewis Creber)
Richard Day 
Set Decoration by
Thomas Little (set decorations)
Costume Design by
Herschel McCoy (costumes) (as Herschel)
Sound Department
Joseph E. Aiken .... sound
William H. Anderson .... sound
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Sam Benson .... wardrobe supervisor (uncredited)
Music Department
Samuel Kaylin .... musical director
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
75 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA High Fidelity Recording)
USA:Approved (PCA #5531)

Did You Know?

Chan's prescient aphorism at the film's conclusion, expressing pessimism about the upcoming Munich Conference was filmed months prior to the start of World War II.See more »
Revealing mistakes: 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 »
Charlie Chan:Truth is only path out of tangled web.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in "Jeopardy!: Episode #27.32" (2010)See more »


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11 out of 16 people found the following review useful.
Surprisingly timely but also disappointing entry into the series, 11 July 2008
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida

By his fourth film in the series, Sidney Toler had settled into the Charlie Chan role quite nicely. In many ways, this is a fascinating film to watch because of its historical value--as it talks about the events leading up to WWII as well as the assumption that the Munich Agreement would avert war. As a history teacher, this is great stuff--a real insight into Europe on the eve of war.

However, despite the interesting backdrop of Paris as it prepares for war, the film ultimately is destroyed by one man--Harold Huber. This was Huber's third Chan film--having played a French inspector in Monte Carlo as well as a New York inspector. The problem in this film wasn't his accent (here and in the previous film, Huber was fine with his fake French accent), but how incredibly obnoxious and stupid his character was. This film did not feature a Chan child but most of the blundering was done by Huber. This might have worked had they not made Huber five times stupider than any of the Chan children. Plus, Huber came on so strong and was so dominant in the film that you really wanted him to die, as he completely over-shadowed Toler. Because of this, this might just be the worst Chan film that Fox Studios made. Watchable but annoying.

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