7.6/10
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30 user 8 critic

Castle in the Desert (1942)

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

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Writers:

(original screenplay) (as John Larkin), (character)
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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
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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!


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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 February 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlie Chan in Castle in the Desert  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was first telecast in Detroit Monday 16 November 1953 on WXYZ (Channel 7), in New York City Thursday 7 January 1954 on WCBS (Channel 2), in Los Angeles Sunday 26 December 1954 on KRCA (Channel 4), and in San Francisco Thursday 12 May April 1955 on KRON (Channel 4). 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

Charlie Chan: Your name is?
Watson King: [With disdain] Watson King. I specialize in minding my own business.
Charlie Chan: Very lonely pasttime.
See more »

Connections

Follows Charlie Chan's Chance (1932) See more »

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User Reviews

 
`He'll die a violent death, he will, and his murderer shall go unpunished'
11 August 2002 | by (Corrales, NM) – See all my reviews

Final Fox Chan film leaves us somewhat dissatisfied despite a complicated but enjoyable plot. There is a body within the first few minutes, sufficient suspects, ties to the Borgia family, lots of misdirection and clues, and Chan once again dodging arrows. The characters are marooned in an eerie reconstructed medieval castle (complete with a dungeon in the basement) located in the Mojave Desert. For a change, it is possible to figure out the ending ahead of or along with Chan. $20M is a great incentive for crime.

Sidney Toler does good job at discovering a mystery and solving murder but fails to perform his usual wrap up at the end clarifying all of the loose ends. Son Jimmy (on leave from the Army) assists Pop without resorting to too much comedy. Pop takes US Army Carrier Pigeon No. 13576 with him to the desert but alas, the pigeon succumbs to the poison nightshade. `Man without enemies like dog without fleas.'

Good supporting cast. Ethel Griffies and Milton Parsons return to play small but effective roles. Only a few (unnecessary) racial slurs. Some interesting camera work with the use of shadows to convey danger. By the way, there is a real castle in the desert, Scotty's Castle, now part of Death Valley National Park. And I suspect that hotels in the region now rent rooms for more than $2/night! Recommended.


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