Mary Whitman has gone to Reno to obtain a divorce. While there she is arrested on suspicion of murdering a fellow guest at her hotel (which specializes in divorcers). There are many others at the hotel who wanted the victim out of the way. Charlie comes from his home in Honolulu to solve the murder. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Besides Sidney Toler as Charlie Chan, this film's cast contained three other actors who also played famous crimefighters: Ricardo Cortez (Sam Spade in the 1931 "Maltese Falcon"), Morgan Conway (Dick Tracy in two RKO films in the mid-1940's) and Robert Lowery (Batman in the Columbia serial "The Adventures of Batman and Robin" in 1948). See more »
When Charlie is examining the police photos of Mrs. Bentley's body, they show her beauty mask tied around her head. But the mask was untied by the desk clerk to identify the victim, before the police are ever called. See more »
Unlike most of the Warner Oland Chan films, those featuring Sidney Toler as Lieutenant Charlie Chan, Honolulu Police Department, often include sufficient clues that the viewer can play detective along with the hero. Charlie Chan in Reno is one of those films. Released prior to a first-class film with a similar main storyline (`The Women' in 1939) this Chan film also has a group of females waiting their time in Reno before a divorce decree can be granted. Chan has an eye for these ladies: `Charming company turn lowly sandwich into rich banquet.' Norman Foster takes over from a series of Mr. Moto films to direct the first of three good Chan films.
Good supporting comedic cast with Victor Sen Yung as No. 2 son Jimmy - a USC undergraduate, former Keystone Kop Slim Summerville as Sheriff `Tombstone' Fletcher, and Eddie Collins as the ever-talkative cab driver (until it is suggested that he might appear in court). Ricardo Cortez is smooth as the suspicious doctor with a motive for murder. Some racial slurring as a hood from the lineup pulls up on the corners of his eyes and tells the detective that he also is one of Chan's sons.
Most of the story takes place at the Hotel Sierra or Police Headquarters. Jealousy, possible robbery, and other motives and a number of obvious suspects complicate the solution. `When searching for needle in haystack, haystack only sensible location.' A keen eye for details will lead the viewer to see what Chan sees and to anticipate his every move. Good luck, the Sheriff could not figure it out and storms out of headquarters heading for Tonopah in disgust at the end.
Could have moved faster. Recommended.
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