In order to learn the location of a fabled Aztec treasure, a professor kidnaps his colleague, the only man able to read the ancient Aztec script that is supposed to reveal the location of the treasure. Charlie Chan and his #1 and #2 sons journey to the jungles of Mexico to find the victim and bring the kidnapper and his gang to justice. Written by
"Only children and fools open their mouths when they have nothing to say."
"The Feathered Serpent" is unique among Charlie Chan films for a number of reasons. For one, we learn the identity of the master criminal well before the movie's end. Professor John Stanley (Robert Livingston) has kidnapped colleague Henry Farnsworth to learn the location of an ancient Aztec treasure. Only Farnsworth can decipher the Aztec hieroglyphics that may reveal the location of the riches.
Perhaps even more meaningful for fans of the Chan series, Keye Luke has returned after an eleven year absence to reprise his role as Number #1 Son Lee. The last time Luke appeared in a Chan film was in 1937's "Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo", then with Warner Oland in the title role; he had never appeared in a Sidney Toler Chan film. On top of that, this is the only pairing of Keye Luke with Victor Sen Yung, who again appears as Number #2 Son Tommy (although he was Number #2 Son Jimmy in all the Sidney Toler Chan films in which he worked).
The movie takes it's name from the ancient Aztec practice of worshiping a feathered snake or serpent. It's a bit difficult getting used to Roland Winters' speech pattern as the Chinese detective in this film, it seems a bit more exaggerated than in his earlier pictures. And I can't imagine why the film makers chose to have Chan run around the Mexican wilderness in his trademark white suit and hat, when a safari suit would have made a lot more sense.
The end of the movie plays a lot more like an Abbott and Costello film than a Charlie Chan picture. There's a lot of animated fighting and the Chan brothers actually get a bit violent in pummeling the bad guys, particularly Tommy who repeatedly pounds his opponents' head against a stone step inside the discovered temple; it's actually quite gruesome if you analyze what's going on. But probably the most off kilter moment comes when Charlie himself warns his party to be careful in handling a weapon intended for himself - "Poison dart probably dipped in poison".
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