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The Shanghai Cobra (1945) More at IMDbPro »

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George Callahan (screenplay) &
George Wallace Sayre (screenplay) ...
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Release Date:
29 September 1945 (USA) See more »
Charlie Chan at his best in his most thrilling adventure!
Someone is attempting to steal radium stored in a bank. Death by cobra venom connects a number of murders. Charlie investigates. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
"Cannot sell bearskin before shooting bear." See more (20 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Sidney Toler ... Charlie Chan
Mantan Moreland ... Birmingham Brown
Benson Fong ... Tommy Chan
James Cardwell ... Ned Stewart
Joan Barclay ... Paula Webb
Addison Richards ... John Adams
Arthur Loft ... Bradford Harris
Janet Warren ... Record Machine Operator
Gene Roth ... Morgan (as Gene Stutenroth)
Joe Devlin ... Taylor
James Flavin ... H.R. Jarvis
Roy Gordon ... Walter Fletcher
Walter Fenner ... Police Inspector Harry Davis
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Andy Andrews ... Patrolman Outside Joe's (uncredited)
George Chandler ... Joe, Coffee Shop Owner (uncredited)
Cyril Delevanti ... Detective Larkin (uncredited)
John Goldsworthy ... Inspector Mainwaring (uncredited)
Stephen Gregory ... Samuel Black (uncredited)
Karen Knight ... Switchboard Supervisor (uncredited)
Mary Moore ... Rita, Laundry Clerk (uncredited)
Paul Newlan ... Big Bank Guard (uncredited)
Diane Quillan ... Phone Operator (uncredited)
Jack Richardson ... Letter Carrier (uncredited)
William Ruhl ... Mr. Grey (uncredited)
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Directed by
Phil Karlson 
Writing credits
George Callahan (screenplay) &
George Wallace Sayre (screenplay)

George Callahan (original story)

Earl Derr Biggers (characters)

Produced by
James S. Burkett .... producer
Cinematography by
Vincent J. Farrar  (as Vincent Farrar)
Film Editing by
Ace Herman 
Art Direction by
Dave Milton (uncredited)
Set Decoration by
Vin Taylor (uncredited)
Production Management
Glenn Cook .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Eddie Davis .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Tom Lambert .... sound recordist
Visual Effects by
Mario Castegnaro .... transparency shots (uncredited)
Ray Mercer .... photographic effects (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Al Nicklin .... second camera operator (uncredited)
Music Department
Edward J. Kay .... musical director
William A. Wilmarth .... music mixer (uncredited)
Other crew
Ron Ormond .... technical director (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Charlie Chan in the Shanghai Cobra" - USA (informal title)
See more »
64 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
USA:Approved (Certificate #10989)

Did You Know?

Actual footage of the Japanese bombing of Shanghai is used in the flashback sequence.See more »
Errors in geography: A building supposedly located in Washington, D.C. has the California state flag flying from its flagpole.See more »
Charlie Chan:Skeleton key, please!
Police Inspector Harry Davis:You know, this is strictly illegal.
Charlie Chan:Four murders much more illegal!
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"Cannot sell bearskin before shooting bear.", 15 March 2014
Author: utgard14 from USA

For some reason, the U.S. Government is storing radium in bank vaults. No, Charlie Chan is not investigating what moron thought that was a good idea. Instead, he's looking into a series of murders by cobra venom that has a connection to the radium and an old case of Charlie's. Weird but not uninteresting plot. This is a decent Monogram effort with an emphasis on mystery (as there should be) and not on pathetic comedy relief. Oh, don't get me wrong, Tommy (Benson Fong) and Birmingham (Mantan Moreland) are still there and still as unfunny as ever. But they're relegated to background status for this one so we don't have to put up with their hijinks as much. If I'm not mistaken, I believe Moreland actually made it through the entire movie without saying the word "spooks." Probably the first and only time.

There was a part of the plot that deals with an old case of Charlie's that took place in Shanghai. It would have been cool if they had tied it into the 1935 movie Charlie Chan in Shanghai. But, alas, that wasn't to be. Instead, it's about a man named Jan Van Horn that Charlie arrested in Shanghai in 1937 whose face was covered by bandages so Charlie never saw what he looked like. He did hear his voice and I immediately recognized it as a certain character actor. If you've seen enough of these types of films you will recognize it, as well. The man appeared in many B movies. Later, when the actor shows up in another role, we're expected to believe Charlie doesn't recognize that distinctive voice is Jan Van Horn. So that part of it was a dud but, to the movie's credit, it does manage to throw a twist in at the end to keep it from being too predictable. Overall, it's a watchable and somewhat entertaining movie. Slightly above par for Monogram but well below the superior Fox Chan movies.

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