22 user 5 critic

The Shanghai Cobra (1945)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 29 September 1945 (USA)
Someone is attempting to steal radium stored in a bank. Death by cobra venom connects a number of murders. Charlie investigates.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

On Disc

at Amazon


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Charlie Chan is an agent of the U.S. government assigned to investigate the mysterious death of an inventor.

Director: Phil Rosen
Stars: Sidney Toler, Mantan Moreland, Arthur Loft
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Charlie discovers a scheme for the theft of government radar plans while investigating several murders.

Director: Phil Rosen
Stars: Sidney Toler, Mantan Moreland, Ben Carter
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

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

Director: Phil Rosen
Stars: Sidney Toler, Joan Woodbury, Mantan Moreland
The Jade Mask (1945)
Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Charlie Chan looks into the apparent murder of a scientist in a spooky mansion.

Director: Phil Rosen
Stars: Sidney Toler, Mantan Moreland, Edwin Luke
Black Magic (1944)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Charlie searches for a murderer amidst numerous ghosts conjured up by a strange variety of spiritualists and occultists.

Director: Phil Rosen
Stars: Sidney Toler, Mantan Moreland, Frances Chan
Dark Alibi (1946)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A public defender enlists Charlie to exonerate one of his clients, an ex-con falsely accused of bank robbery and murder, scheduled for execution in nine days.

Director: Phil Karlson
Stars: Sidney Toler, Mantan Moreland, Ben Carter
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

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

Director: Harry Lachman
Stars: Sidney Toler, Arleen Whelan, Richard Derr
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Charlie visits a wealthy country home in England. Suspects in the murder range from a housekeeper, to a stableman, to a lawyer.

Director: Eugene Forde
Stars: Warner Oland, Drue Leyton, Ray Milland
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 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
Adventure | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

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

Director: Norman Foster
Stars: Sidney Toler, Jean Rogers, Lionel Atwill
Dead Men Tell (1941)
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 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
Comedy | Crime | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

While investigating the theft of antiquities from an ancient tomb excavation , Charlie discovers that the body of the expedition's leader concealed inside the mummy's wrappings.

Director: Louis King
Stars: Warner Oland, Pat Paterson, Thomas Beck


Complete credited cast:
James Cardwell ...
John Adams
Arthur Loft ...
Bradford Harris
Janet Warren ...
Record Machine Operator
Gene Roth ...
Morgan (as Gene Stutenroth)
H.R. Jarvis
Roy Gordon ...
Walter Fletcher
Walter Fenner ...
Police Inspector Harry Davis


When three employees of a bank are found murdered with cobra venom, Charlie Chan connects the homicides to a case he had worked in Shanghai in 1937. Even though he arrested the alleged murderer, whom later escaped from the police, Charlie wouldn't be able to recognize him because, at the time of his apprehension, his badly burned face and hands were swathed in bandages. Although Chan believes he is now involved with a gang that is stealing valuable radium from a bank vault, utilizing tunnels that connect to the area sewer system, his new identity remains a mystery. When a detective disguised as a bank guard is found dead in a tunnel by Birmingham, Charlie knows he's on the right track. Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bank | tunnel | radium | sewer | murder | See All (38) »


Charlie Chan at his best in his most thrilling adventure!


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

29 September 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlie Chan in the Shanghai Cobra  »

Box Office


$75,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Actual footage of the Japanese bombing of Shanghai is used in the flashback sequence. See more »


A building supposedly located in Washington, D.C. has the California state flag flying from its flagpole. See more »


Charlie Chan: Cannot sell bearskin before shooting bear.
See more »


Follows The Chinese Parrot (1927) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Better Than Most Monogram Chan Films--But That's Not Saying Much
21 June 2007 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

Loosely based on novels by Earl Derr Biggers, 20th Century Fox's Charlie Chan series proved an audience favorite--but when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor the studio feared audiences would turn against its Asian hero. This was a miscalculation: actor Sidney Toler took the role to "poverty row" Monogram Studios, where he continued to portray the character in eleven more films made between 1944 and his death in 1947.

20th Century Fox had regarded the Chan films as inexpensive "B" movies, but even so the studio took considerable care with them: the plots were often silly, but the pace was sharp, the dialogue witty, and the casts (which featured the likes of Bela Lugosi and Ray Milland) always expert. The result was a kindly charm which has stood the test of time. Monogram was a different matter: Chan films were "B" movies plain and simple. Little care was taken with scripts or cast and resulting films were flat, mediocre at best, virtually unwatchable at worst.

Thanks to an adequate cast and a few interesting plot devices, THE SHANGHAI COBRA is among the best of the Monogram-made Chan films--but even so it barely manages to achieve a consistent mediocrity. In this particularly entry, Chan (Sidney Toler) is called upon to investigate a murderer who kills with what appears to be a cobra-like bite; at the same time, he decides to make certain that a government supply of radium tucked away in a bank vault, of all places, remains secure. Do these two seemingly unrelated plot lines come together? Well... could be! Sidney Toler is always enjoyable as Chan, but most of his Monogram performances seemed "phoned in"--and that is as true of COBRA as it is of any Monogram Chan film. As usual, the really enjoyable performer is Mantan Mooreland. Changing times have led us to look upon Moreland's brand of comedy as demeaning to African-Americans, but he was an expert actor and comic, and taken within the context of what was possible for a black actor in the 1940s his work has tremendous charm and innocence.

Fans of the 20th Century Fox series are likely to find Monogram's Chan a significant disappointment and newcomers who like the Monogram films will probably consider them third-rate after encountering the Fox films. Like other Monogram Chan films, THE SHANGHAI COBRA is best left to determined collectors. Four stars, and that's being generous.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer

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

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Trippy jpkmets
The juke box! (minor plot point revealed) rayincumbria
Discuss The Shanghai Cobra (1945) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: