IMDb > City in Darkness (1939)
City in Darkness
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

City in Darkness (1939) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 5 | slideshow)


User Rating:
7.3/10   908 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
Popularity: ?
Down 6% 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)
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 (21 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
R.H. Bassett .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Samuel Kaylin .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Philippe Parès .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Georges Van Parys .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
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?

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 »
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:Patience big sister to wisdom.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in "Jeopardy!: Episode #27.32" (2010)See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
2 out of 3 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.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (21 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for City in Darkness (1939)


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Charlie Chan at the Olympics Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo Foreign Correspondent Charlie Chan in Honolulu Charlie Chan in Paris
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Drama section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.