Chinese-American detective Charlie Chan is called in to help solve baffling cases, aided by his #1 son. The first five episodes were filmed in the US, then production switched to the UK for the rest of the series.
A gold mine in Arizona, that was formerly losing a lot of money, suddenly turns into a veritable money-making machine. However, the owner, instead of being happy about his now profitable business, insists to Charlie that something is fishy and that someone is out to murder him. Charlie and his "crew" travel to the mine, pretending to be tourists staying at a nearby dude ranch so as not to arouse suspicion, and discover that the owner may well be right--it looks like the mine is being used as a cover for criminal activities, and that someone is indeed out to murder him. Written by
Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie
(AKA "The Cowboy's Lament" and "The Dying Cowboy")(uncredited)
Traditional American cowboy folk song based on the poem "Ocean Burial" by Edwin Hubbell Chapin (1839) set to music by George N. Allen
Sung by Tim Ryan See more »
The story is set mostly in Arizona near an old gold mine. The owner is being threatened and wants Chan's help. It's a good premise but the story is dull and unconvincing. There are not enough suspects to make the puzzle interesting. The killer here is easier to figure out than in most Chan stories. There was one surprise toward the end but it only contributed to the story's implausibility.
Characters are shallow and generally uninteresting. Way too much time is spent on the drunk who stumbles around the swimming pool. This character isn't really needed anyway and my impression is that he functions mostly as filler; the film contains a lot of filler, despite the short runtime.
Outdoor visuals do not look much like Arizona. The mine-shafts add a spooky quality. But film lighting renders the tunnels too bright to be convincingly subterranean. Overall lighting is generally too dark. Production design is predictably minimal and cheap.
As bug-eyed Birmingham Brown, Mantan Moreland is always a welcome addition to the cast. But Victor Sen Yung doesn't add much as Number Two Son. And Roland Winters is dreadful as Charlie Chan. Winters just doesn't have the Chan persona that Warner Oland or Sidney Toler had.
With minimal mystery and suspense, few suspects, and a dull Charlie Chan actor, "The Golden Eye" is below average for this series. Only hard core Charlie Chan movie fans will find much appeal in this film.
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