Chinese detective Charlie Chan (Sidney Toler) is on his way to San Francisco to take over a murder case when he meets a woman, Mrs. Conover (Mary Gordon), who is searching for her missing daughter and a young man, Jeff Tilford (Bruce Kellogg), who is looking for his missing fiancee. Investigation by Charlie discloses they are both looking for the same girl, Mary Conover (Tanis Chandler). Chan eventually uncovers a murder gang, which has been collecting the life insurance of its victims. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
This movie is a total train wreck. I've never seen such a badly constructed movie in all my life. The story is virtually impossible to follow. Characters aren't properly introduced and we're supposed to know who they are and what they're doing!?! You literally need a scorecard to keep track of all the names that come flying at you in rapid fire succession. Plus, there are aliases we have to remember, too. One guy has at least 4 aliases. I can't see how anybody could know what's going on in this film without watching it at least 5 times. Maybe Monogram did that on purpose so that people would come back and pay to see it again.
Here are a few of the problems. The PI is not properly introduced. We don't know who he is. At he beginning of the movie, the bus breaks down and all the passengers wait in a room while the bus is being repaired. Some guy takes over and starts telling people what to do. He wants to frisk the Marine that walks in, and we don't know who this guy is (Is he a gay man that wants to "cop a feel"?). We don't know his name, and we don't know why he feels he has the authority to tell people what to do. When the bus finally gets to San Francisco, we find out that he is a PI, but we still don't know who he is. Why is he in San Francisco? Is it work or pleasure? There's no conversation with Charlie to introduce him, so we have no idea what this guy is all about. The big problem is that this PI plays an integral role in the film, plus he pops up every 5-10 minutes like the human whack-a-mole.
Why-oh-why-oh-why is Kate found dead in Mary Conover's apartment!?! This one really bothers me. We are barely introduced to Kate, but after multiple viewings I figured out that she is the woman traveling with Mary's grandmother. She is there to help Grandma find Mary because they DON'T KNOW where Mary is. If they don't know where Mary is, how could Kate be in her apartment? Is she keeping secrets from Grandma? One simple scene with Kate telling Grandma she was going to investigate a tip would've helped to clear up this major plot-hole, but the inept losers that made this mess didn't feel it was necessary. Which leads me to
Bumbleham Brown and Jimmy are total dead wood in this flick. They have absolutely NO rapport with each other. Every scene they are in could've been eliminated and the time used to explain some of the HUGE plot-holes.
The name of the film is "Shadows over Chinatown". Why? Does any of the action take place in Chinatown? How do we know they are in Chinatown? I only found out that many of the scenes took place in Chinatown after reading a review of this flick. There's NOTHING in this film that looks Chinese, except Charlie and Jimmy. Jimmy and Bumbleham go into a Chinese restaurant that looked like a Jewish deli from the outside, but we don't see the Chinese interior, we don't see Chinese architecture, we don't even see any Chinese people. There is absolutely nothing Chinese about the Chinatown in this film. It could be Anywhere, USA.
And last but not least, I want to give all the Chanologists out there that rated this movie a 9 or 10, a big "Screw you!" You have again proved that Chan fans are the biggest bunch of lame, under-educated, low-life trash on IMDb. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. If this is a 10, then what is "CC at the Opera", a 20? Every high vote for garbage like "Shadows over Chinatown" cheapens well-made films.
3 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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