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


Overview

User Rating:
7.4/10   782 votes »
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Up 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Robert Ellis (screen play) and
Helen Logan (screen play) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Charlie Chan in City in Darkness on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1 December 1939 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
PARIS! BLACKOUT!...but there's no blackout for crime...and the great detective is commandeered!
Plot:
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 »
NewsDesk:
(2 articles)
Watch For The Eclipse In New Teaser For Guillermo Del Toro’s The Strain
 (From We Got This Covered. 22 January 2014, 11:26 AM, PST)

Batman #25 Review
 (From Obsessed with Film. 13 November 2013, 1:43 AM, PST)

User Reviews:
Decent mystery with timely setting but underdone plot and script See more (20 total) »

Cast

  (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

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 ... Minor Role (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)
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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


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Additional Details

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

Did You Know?

Trivia:
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 »
Goofs:
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 »
Quotes:
Charlie Chan:Birds never divide worm until safe in roost.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in "Jeopardy!: Episode #27.32" (2010)See more »

FAQ

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
Decent mystery with timely setting but underdone plot and script, 25 July 2012
Author: csteidler from Minnesota

The "City in Darkness" is Paris, where Charlie Chan and a group of colleagues from the last Great War are gathered for a reunion on the eve of the next one. As the picture opens, a newsreel-style sequence presents a fascinating and frightening summary of European events of 1938—as they appeared from the vantage point of early 1939.

In this setting, with war imminent and preparations mounting, the nighttime blackout in effect occasionally helps the story along—such as the scene in which Mr. Chan, captured and tied up in a shop's back room, manages to surreptitiously switch on an outside light, knowing the police will come and pound on the shop door and thus rescue him.

The plot itself concerns the murder of a shady character named Petroff—and the usual number of suspects who may have had reasons (personal or political) for doing away with him. There's a shop owner (Leo G. Carroll) who makes and sells fake passports on the side; a young couple (Richard Clarke and Lynn Bari) trying to catch the last boat for America for six days; a "business associate" (Noel Madison) of Petroff's who slides in and out of the picture; and butler and patriot Antoine (Pedro de Cordoba).

C. Henry Gordon is a natural as the prefect of police, the old friend Chan has come to visit. Sidney Toler is solid if rather subdued as Mr. Chan. Instead of assistance from number two son, however, this time around Chan has to deal with…

Harold Huber as a bumbling inspector who hopes to solve this case to impress the prefect. His accent is thick, his gestures are exaggerated, and whenever he is on screen he interrupts loudly, whoever else may be speaking. It's a comic role—but, for my taste at least, it's a bit too much. I'm all for broad humor but in this case it only partially works and it distracts from an otherwise rather serious movie.

It's certainly an interesting setting…but overall I'm not sure they didn't concentrate too much on the picture's timeliness and neglect to polish the dialog and plot.

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