7.6/10
936
30 user 8 critic

Castle in the Desert (1942)

Charlie Chan investigates apparent poisonings at a mystery mansion in the Mojave Desert.

Director:

Writers:

(original screenplay) (as John Larkin), (character)
Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Dead Men Tell (1941)
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A treasure map in four pieces, the ghost of a hanged pirate, a talking parrot, and a ship full of red herrings complicate Charlie's search for a murderer on board a docked ship.

Director: Harry Lachman
Stars: Sidney Toler, Sheila Ryan, Robert Weldon
Adventure | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Inspector Chan investigates a group of travelers, one of whom is a saboteur.

Director: Norman Foster
Stars: Sidney Toler, Jean Rogers, Lionel Atwill
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

When Charlie's old friend from Scotland Yard is murdered when they attend a police convention in New York, Chan picks up the case he was working on.

Director: Harry Lachman
Stars: Sidney Toler, Marjorie Weaver, Robert Lowery
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

On the trail of a singer who killed the man she loved in Honolulu, Charlie finds her stabbed to death when he ultimately catches up to her in Rio.

Director: Harry Lachman
Stars: Sidney Toler, Mary Beth Hughes, Cobina Wright
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Charlie tries to discover the identity of a strangler who strikes multiple times on a cruise ship bound from Honolulu to California.

Director: Eugene Forde
Stars: Sidney Toler, Marjorie Weaver, Lionel Atwill
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An escaped convicted murderer hides out at a New York wax museum where he hopes to get plastic surgery, which will help him revenge himself on Charlie Chan.

Director: Lynn Shores
Stars: Sidney Toler, Victor Sen Yung, C. Henry Gordon
Comedy | Crime | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Charlie's investigation of a phony psychic during the 1939 World Exposition on San Francisco's Treasure Island leads him to expose a suicide as murder.

Director: Norman Foster
Stars: Sidney Toler, Cesar Romero, Pauline Moore
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

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.

Director: Herbert I. Leeds
Stars: Sidney Toler, Lynn Bari, Richard Clarke
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Mary Whitman, an old friend of Charlie's in Reno for a divorce, finds herself accused of murdering the woman her husband planned to marry after the decree became final.

Director: Norman Foster
Stars: Sidney Toler, Ricardo Cortez, Phyllis Brooks
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Charlie Chan investigates the locked-room murder of a chess expert.

Director: Phil Rosen
Stars: Sidney Toler, Joan Woodbury, Mantan Moreland
Comedy | Crime | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

While Charlie is distracted with the birth of his first grandchild, son Jimmy impersonates his father in order to investigate a murder aboard a freighter in the harbor.

Director: H. Bruce Humberstone
Stars: Sidney Toler, Phyllis Brooks, Victor Sen Yung
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

When a strategically important new aerial guidance system is stolen, Charlie traces it to the Berlin Olympics, where he has to battle spies and enemy agents to retrieve it.

Director: H. Bruce Humberstone
Stars: Warner Oland, Katherine DeMille, Pauline Moore
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Brenda Hartford
Richard Derr ...
Carl Detheridge
...
Paul Manderley (as Douglas Dumbrille)
...
Watson King
Edmund MacDonald ...
Walter Hartford
Victor Sen Yung ...
Jimmy Chan (as Sen Yung)
Lenita Lane ...
Lucy Manderley
...
Madame Saturnia
Milton Parsons ...
Arthur Fletcher
Steven Geray ...
Dr. Retling (as Steve Geray)
Lucien Littlefield ...
Gleason
Edit

Storyline

Paul Manderley, eccentric historian, and his wife, descendant of the Borgias, live in an isolated castle-like mansion in the Mojave Desert. When a guest suddenly collapses, Charlie Chan is invited to stay. As the standard mystery-mansion props come into play, and all means of outside communication are sabotaged, it becomes evident that one of the inhabitants has access to poisons and is prepared to use them... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

...a poison arrow whizzes past... as Charlie Chan opens the gate to his most baffling adventure!


Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 February 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlie Chan in Castle in the Desert  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The exterior of the hotel would later be dressed as the saloon for The Ox-Bow Incident (1943). See more »

Goofs

Paul Manderley, supposedly an expert on the Italian Rennaissance, mispronounces Cesare Borgia's first name, making it sound like Caesar as in Julius Caesar. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Retling: They say poison is a woman's weapon.
See more »

Connections

Follows Charlie Chan at the Race Track (1936) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Entertaining Murder Mystery
21 September 2003 | by (Brooklyn, New York) – See all my reviews

I caught this movie on the FOX MOVIE CHANNEL which had pulled it's CHARLIE CHAN month long marathon due to protests from Asian Americans. FMC resumed showing the Chan movies in September, bookending the movies with discussions by prominent Asian-Americans inluding George (Mr. Sulu)Takei who explored the racial issues of the movies.

I respect the discomfort and resentment the CHARLIE CHAN movies cause Asian Americans and there are some blatantly racial comments in this movie. There's a part where Charlie enters a hotel to await a car and the hotel manager takes one look at him and says; "Chop Suey salesman, eh? I hate the stuff!" that frankly made me cringe. But these movies have a historical value beyond simple entertainment. They remind us of how we once acted and thought of other races and other people. Even though Charlie Chan is a respected and internationally famous detective, he is still based on his appearance and skin color. Maybe we haven't come so far since this movie was made.

Taken strictly as entertainment, though, CASTLE IN THE DESERT is a nifty murder mystery with an eccentric cast of characters trapped in a remote location with a murderer running around loose. One character is a descendant of Lucrezia Borgia. Another is a fortune teller whose predictions actually DO come true. Charlie Chan and Number 2 son do a great job of finding the true murderer and putting things aright. The plot is perhaps more complicated than it needs to be but that's the great thing about those 30's/40's murder mysteries: it wasn't that easy to guess who was the killer. Despite the unplesant racial remarks, CASTLE IN THE DESERT is a fine entry in the CHARLIE CHAN series. I enjoyed it a lot. Lots of humor and sharp, witty dialog and great atmospheric sets.


9 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Castle in the Desert (1942) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?