Charlie Chan at the Circus (1936) Poster

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8/10
A Personal Favorite Among The Chan Films
gftbiloxi21 April 2005
Filmed and released in 1936, CHARLIE CHAN AT THE CIRCUS is the eleventh film in the Chan series--and although many tend to dismiss it as "only average," it is among my favorites of the Chan films.

This episode finds Chan on vacation on the mainland with the entire family--but when he takes the family to the circus he finds himself embroiled in the murder of the show's co-owner, a man so widely disliked by his co-workers and employees that virtually any one might have killed him. Begged into assisting the investigation by circus performer "Lady Tiny," Chan and number one son Lee join the circus train in an effort to ferret out the truth.

Like most Chan films, the plot is full of holes--but what makes this installment particularly enjoyable is the supporting cast. Son Lee (the ever-enjoyable Keye Luke) finds romance with Chinese contortionist Su Toy (the beautiful Shia Jung) and trapeze footage of Marie Normand (played by real-life trapeze artist Maxine Reiner) offers a glimpse into the circus world of the 1930s that is quite fascinating. Most enjoyable of all, however, are Col. Tim and Lady Tiny, played by popular circus stars and occasional film actors George and Olive Brasno; their sideshow dance alone would make this film worth the effort. It's all a tremendous amount of fun.

Chan films are often accused of being racist, and critics often complain that the actors playing Chan wore "yellowface" make up. The films, however, must be seen within the context of their era. In the 1930s, Hollywood presented most Asian characters as either servile or as Fu Manchu-like entities; Chan was actually just about the only positive Asian character going, and as such the films were tremendously popular with Asian-American audiences of the era.

True enough, Chan is inevitably played by an occidental actor, but this was typical of the era, in which star status was considered more important than racial accuracy. (Other Asian characters are almost always played by actors of Asian heritage, with Keye Luke and Shia Jung cases in point.) Whatever the case, neither Warner Oland or the later Sidney Toler wore significant make-up for the role, and Oland--although a Swede by birth--actually had a strong strain of Asian ancestry in his family tree. But most significantly, while Chan often allows the suspects to dismiss him through their own prejudices, as a character he is always presented in a positive light.

While I would not rank it along such knock-out Chan films as CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OPERA or CHARLIE CHAN AT TREASURE ISLAND, CHARLIE CHAN AT THE CIRCUS is a thoroughly enjoyable entry in the series, and in many respects the film's "old fashioned" qualities (watch out for that wild gorilla suit!) add to the fun. Recommended for Chan fans everywhere.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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7/10
"Curiosity responsible for cat needing nine lives."
classicsoncall19 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
It was in "Charlie Chan in Shanghai", two films prior, that we learned Chan's age at 60. In "Charlie Chan at the Circus", we see the prolific Chan family in it's entirety as guests at the Kinney and Gaines Combined Circus. Charlie's offspring now number twelve, or as the ticket taker at the circus would offer - "the guy with his own sideshow". Only Keye Luke as Number #1 Son Lee is recognizable; future detective wanna-be's Victor Sen Yung and Benson Fong are at least a couple of years and a number of films away in their respective roles as Number's #2 and 3 Sons.

As in "Shanghai", Chan's vacation is interrupted by business, as circus owner Joe Kinney (Paul Stanton) asks for Charlie's help in investigating some threatening letters he's received. Roundly despised by the circus troupe for his treatment of both performers and animals, it's not long before Chan is investigating a murder, with Kinney providing the corpse. The immediate suspect appears to be Caesar the Ape, released from his cage at an opportune time; but Kinney's body was found inside the circus business trailer, locked from the inside.

It turns out that Kinney led a pretty convoluted life, engaged to circus aerialist Marie Normand after a brief affair with wardrobe lady Nellie Farrell. Farrell and her brother Dan schemed up a phony marriage certificate between herself and Kinney to claim part ownership in the circus. If that wasn't enough, Kinney intended to take over full ownership if partner John Gaines (Francis Ford) couldn't keep up his payments. So there were plenty of suspects who could have wanted Kinney out of the way, having endeared himself to so many.

As Number #1 Son, Keye Luke keeps busy between detective work by trying to romance "The Human Knot", contortionist Su Toy. Also prominent in the story are midget husband and wife entertainers Colonel Tim and Lady Tiny (George and Olive Brasno, actually brother and sister in real life). A particularly funny scene involves Lee and Colonel Tim impersonating a woman and a baby in a stroller, embarrassingly recognized by Su Toy.

By the time Kinney's killer is finally revealed, all of the prior intrigue and revelations prove inconsequential, as Charlie Chan uses Lee's help to uncover a plot by Kinney's animal trainer friend Holt, who was in legal trouble with Kinney at a prior circus venue. It was Holt who was threatening his friend, and masterminding the diversions that pointed to the other suspects. In that respect, "Charlie Chan at the Circus" follows the typical formula for this series, in that the identity of the murderer is never revealed clearly to the viewer until Chan's lucid explanation is offered to wind up the case.
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7/10
Clue Like Photograph - Needs Time to Develop
BaronBl00d14 September 2008
Thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable Chan vehicle with the ever- adroit Warner Oland carrying off the Chan role this time in a circus venue. Charlie and his large family are out with a free pass enjoying the circus when(to use a cliché) death strikes under the big top. One of the partners and it seems a man virtually no ones likes dies from what appears to be by a rampaging fake -looking ape(sorry, this is even early for George Barrows!). Charlie must determine what could have taken place in this locked box car that might have a different explanation. Along the way we are treated to intriguing circus types - in particular two "midgets" wonderfully played by the brother/sister team of George and Olive Brasno. Some interesting red herrings are delivered as well as the light comedy touches that are customary with a good Chan film: pithy sayings laced with much wisdom, Charlie and his son Keye Luke's wonderful chemistry and humor, and Oland's general pleasant/pleasing portrayal of a man who has twelve children. Charlie Chan at the Circus isn't a great Chan film but it is a very good one and a fun one to be sure. Join the circus!
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8/10
Very entertaining Chan
Panamint23 May 2015
All 14 Chans go to the circus and the fun starts from the very beginning. But you know Charlie must find a case there, too. Charlie sleuths while enjoying the circus and number one son Lee (Keye Luke) gets into everything in a vigorous way, including some romance with a cute contortionist.

This film has more entertainment value than most other Chan films in my opinion. Featured are the talented Brasno dance team, trapeze action, a lot of circus animals and loads of circus atmosphere.

You also get several crooked subplots, an ape on the loose, good Chan aphorisms and a briskly directed, fast-moving film in general. Its great to see all 14 Chans in an outing with a fun atmosphere- you can't help but enjoy "Charlie Chan at the Circus".
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8/10
"Man who seek trouble never find it far off."
utgard1427 February 2014
Rousing entry in the Charlie Chan series is one of the best. Charlie (Warner Oland) takes his sizable family to the circus at the invitation of one of the circus owners, who has been receiving threatening letters and wants Charlie to investigate. When the owner is murdered, all clues point to an escaped gorilla the man was abusive to. But Charlie's not so sure and gets to work investigating the murder, with help from "Number One Son" Lee (Keye Luke).

It's great to see Charlie's wife and all of the Chan kids. They're so adorable. Keye Luke is charming as ever, especially when he flirts with a contortionist. The circus performers are fun to watch. The two midgets, George and Olive Brasno, receive prominent billing right after Keye Luke. I assume they were well-known at the time. They're both good actors and I liked their dance number. J. Carrol Naish also appears and is enjoyable to watch, as always.

This is a very entertaining movie. Fast pace, interesting setting, and nice doses of humor make it a real treat. Probably my second favorite in the whole series. Oh, and pay attention to the scene where the characters Blake and Kinney fight. Blake punches like a girl! It's hilarious! This one's also got a guy in a gorilla suit, which is always a win.
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7/10
"Mind Like Parachute, Only Function When Open"
Mike-76412 January 2005
Charlie and all 13 members of the immediate family are given passes to the Kinney and Gaines traveling circus, compliments of Joe Kinney, who wants Charlie to investigate some threatening letters he's been receiving. Anyone at the circus could have sent them, since Kinney is as popular as cancer, driving partner Gaines to bankruptcy and using violence on other performers at the circus. Naturally he is found murdered in the business wagon, which Charlie and Lee believe was done by the wild ape Ceasar. Tiny, one half of a man and wife midget sideshow, asks Charlie to work further on the case, which Mrs. Chan, Lee, and the other 11 children plead with him to do. Charlie and Lee travel with the circus and find out that one performer, Nellie Farrell, married Kinney in Mexico, which drives the rift with Marie Normand, trapeze artist and Kinney's fiancé. Marie doesn't believe that Kinney was with Nellie on the marriage date, but.... well that's her own secret and that may cost her life from the mysterious killer. Above average entry in the Chan series, and probably the most humorous entry (especially from the Fox series). The mystery angle is prevalent throughout the movie but is played down because of the humor which by the 50 minute mark does seem to get old and have the audience wanting the mystery we expect from the series. The circus setting really does look authentic giving the audience of being at the big top. Lachman uses plenty of low and high angle shots to create suspense and character interpretations, but in the context of the film itself it wasn't necessary. It was nice to see all 14 members of the family in an appearance rather than the photograph used in previous entries. Rating, 7.
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7/10
really enjoyable Chan
blanche-216 January 2013
Warner Oland is Charlie Chan in "Charlie Chan at the Circus," a 1936 entry into the series. This time Charlie brings his wife and 12 kids to the circus and runs into murder.

While Lee Chan (Keye Luke) is off trying to romance the pretty contortionist, the co-owner of the circus asks Charlie to look into some threatening letters he's gotten. Then the man is murdered, and it turns out that even though he gave Charlie 14 free passes to the circus, he's not beloved. The man had enemies including his own partner, a snake charmer, and a gorilla! Very entertaining, and one of the things neat about the film is the presence of the Brasnos, a brother and sister midget team, who play Colonel Tim and Lady Tiny. The Brasnos were vaudevillians and successful enough that Olive Brasno could turn down the role of a munchkin in The Wizard of Oz because she was too busy with their act. They bring a lot of charm to the film. As a bit of trivia, Olive lived to age 80 and died within two days of her husband of 38 years.

Warner Oland is a terrific Chan, much livelier and more cheerful than Sidney Toler and less sarcastic (though I like Toler's characterization and lots of those episodes). Keye Luke as Lee is always delightful. The circus atmosphere made for a fun atmosphere. This is one of the better films in the series.
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8/10
very entertaining movie
r-c-s18 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is a very entertaining movie. The plot contrivances are well thought of and intermingle well; of course one has to love the basic format of these Chan movies. the 'son #1' comedy moment doesn't get in the way as it does in other movies and works well enough. Summoned to pay a visit to a circus with his family, Chan is asked advice about death threats that have targeted the recently appeared co-owner of the show. The man is killed later and another woman is seriously wounded in another attempt. Who may want to control the circus, whose business is shaky anyways? In the end we'll have not one culprit, but two parties guilty of two unrelated crimes. The midgets in the movie are very particular. Typically midgets are easily recognizable as such, but these two look just like miniature people. Entertaining 70 minutes.
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8/10
A marvelous 'circus' performance!
binapiraeus7 March 2014
This is not 'just' one of Charlie Chan's fascinating, intricate murder cases, but it's also set in very special surroundings: a circus show - and the circus atmosphere here is presented so wonderfully genuine that it really fills every circus fan with nostalgic feelings...

The whole Chan family (14 altogether...) have been invited to see the show by the circus' co-owner Joe Kinney; but not without a reason: he wants to show Charlie some threatening letters he's received. But before the show's even ended, Kinney is found murdered in his wagon - mysteriously bolted from the inside... And Charlie very soon finds out that it could have been almost any member of the circus ensemble who'd have liked to see him dead: he was a mean cheat who threatened to take away his co-owner's shares because the circus wasn't doing too well, he was rude, cruel and PRETTY unpopular with all his staff; and besides that, he was a reckless womanizer who simply used to drop his girl when he'd found another one.

And that was also the case with Nellie Farrell, whom he pushed off to the wardrobe department when he became sweet on trapeze artist Marie - but in the fight for his money, more things come to light: Kinney had been married to Nellie, according to a marriage license the police find in his safe. But Marie knows otherwise; and she promises to tell as soon as she'll have finished her trapeze act - that fact alone automatically makes our hair raise while we're awaiting her daring stunt that she always does without a net...

An incredible amount of suspense and a plot that demands a lot of our 'little gray cells' mixed with a fair amount of humor (son number one, Lee, who never can resist flirting, tries to impress a Chinese contortion artist...) - an unforgettable hour of entertainment and excitement, just like those good old-fashioned circus performances!
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7/10
Mystery seems to always find Charlie Chan.
michaelRokeefe28 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Earl Derr Biggers' super sleuth Charlie Chan(Warner Oland)takes his wife and 12 offspring to the circus for some fun and relaxation. Director Harry Lachman lets Chan loosen up a bit and slips in some softness with the detective and his kids enjoyment of the circus. Then of course there is the amusing dealings with Charlie and his over-zealous Number-One-Son Lee(Keye Luke). The mystery starts when a disliked co-owner of the circus is murdered and there are multiple possible suspects...the other co-owner, a snake charmer, a wardrobe seamstress and even a gorilla, yes gorilla. My favorite scene is the Chan brood passing by the ticket taker. Other players featured: Francis Ford, John McGuire, Shia Jung, Paul Stanton, George Brasno, Maxine Reiner and J. Carrol Naish.
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7/10
Enjoyable but Seems to Be Lacking in Something
Hitchcoc30 December 2015
While the mystery is entertaining enough, there is a lot of wasted time in this one. About a fourth of it is involved in watching circus acts, looking at animals, and things that really don't progress the plot. There are also a lot of scenes with the little people who are used as comic relief. The young man has a penchant for cigars and those cigars are used in contrast to our view of these people as child like. Still, we have a good mystery where a man has been killed inside a locked wagon. There is also intrigue involving the financial success of the circus. Number one son does a decent job, but is still a bit of a buffoon as he spends most of the show pursuing a contortionist who shows absolutely no interest in him. Charlie really fires the aphorisms in this one, almost to a fault. A good but not great episode.
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6/10
This Chan Circus Should Have Been More Fun
ccthemovieman-113 April 2007
I am a big fan of Charlie Chan, owning all the Warner Oland/Sidney Toler episodes I can find and enjoying them, but that doesn't mean they automatically are all wonderful. This one is okay, but disappointing considering how much better it could have been.

It did have its customary comic moments with Keye Luke as Number One Son and Charlie had a ton of proverbs, but they weren't particularly profound or humorous, just so-so. One thing different was the co-starring of real-life "small people" circus performers, George and Olive Branso, who were okay as actors.

With a setting like the circus, and with Chan's huge family all there (a dozen kids) they could have all kinds of interesting scenarios, but outside of a quick cobra scene and an ape making noise a few times, not much happened. This story was just plain flat overall until the final 10 minutes. The ending was pretty clever but it was a case of too-little, too-late.

Overall, it's not a bad film but there is an "edge" to this murder-mystery that is missing.
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7/10
Like most of the Warner Oland Chan films, this one really delivers
MartinHafer25 May 2008
Fans of the Charlie Chan films should see this film for one reason in particular--it's a very rare chance to see the entire huge Chan clan in a single film. In most Chan films, there are one or two of the Chan children along to "help"(?) their father. However, here there are all twelve plus Mrs. Chan--a real rarity and proof that Charlie had interests other than police work!

The film is set at a circus where there is a mysterious murder--supposedly perpetrated by an ape! However, things don't add up and it's up to Charlie and his romantically challenged oldest son, Lee, to solve the crime. Along the way, you'll see midgets, tall guys, trapeze artists and the like--all providing an unusual and welcome backdrop to the investigation. Practically everything works well, though in 1930s fashion, there is an ape that is obviously just some guy in a gorilla costume (so I'll deduct a point). A bad cliché, but otherwise a great and exciting film--as are all the Chan films starring Warner Oland (the series, unfortunately, sagged a bit after his death).
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6/10
Murder At The Big Top
bkoganbing11 June 2008
Even the most dedicated of sleuths likes an occasional day off and Warner Oland as Charlie Chan wanted just such a day to spend with his family at the circus. But it actually turns out that one of the partners who owned the circus had hired him to look into some veiled threats he'd been receiving from unknown sources.

So the Chan family, all 14 of them, go to the circus and wouldn't you know it, the guy who hires Charlie winds up murdered. And Charlie's got a whole circus full of suspects.

Oland enters the case at the behest of the performers, especially two midgets played by George and Olive Brasno. The police are holding the circus up until the murder is solved, but that in itself will bankrupt the show if they miss scheduled dates.

It was nice to see Charlie on a family outing even if he couldn't escape the need for his services. As usual Keye Luke is the bumptious number one son who Charlie has to keep dispensing fortune cookie wisdom all the time to.

This is a good, if average entry in the Charlie Chan series.
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Big Little Woman
tedg28 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
If you are like me, you'll watch these old things because detective story films from the 30's are important. You could also be genuinely charmed by cultural notes from another world.

But for me, it got higher on my viewing list because movies about the circus are special in the tricks they pull, and the special cinematic vocabulary they bring.

This one has almost no real circus content or feel, except that there are midgets, a gorilla, and one attack on a trapeze.

The gorilla thing is almost obligatory in these cheap movies. The humorous thing in this case (spoiler) is that the animal is clearly a guy in a gorilla suit. The murderer it turns out is a guy posing as the "real" gorilla and who wears a slightly cheaper gorilla suit.

Its all a waste, that part. But you might want to see the siblings who play — and are — the midgets. Brother and sister, they became rather successful on Broadway I read.

The girl here is 18 and really very pretty. She's not an accomplished actress, but as she is playing herself in all respects, she really seems true and endearing, especially next to the old white guy aping what he thinks are Chinese mannerisms.

Their bit is a ballroom dance, not anything circusy. But their very presence after Browning's 32 "Freaks," forebodes Lynch and all that means.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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7/10
An "average" entry in the series
admjtk170119 April 2000
This Oland Chan film comes off as only "average". It is fun but nothing special. The best part is the sight of Chan and his entire family arriving at the circus. An interesting note is that supporting player J. Carrol Naish would later play Chan in the 50's TV series, "The New Adventures of Charlie Chan". Goes well on a double feature with the Marx Brothers' "At the Circus".
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8/10
One of the better films in the Chan series
dbborroughs24 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
With possibly the best sense of place in the entire series this is another one of the films that is near the top of the entire run of Chan films.

The plot has Chan and some of his sons getting involved in the dark happenings in and a round a circus. The film manages to walk the fine line between being both light and dark. You have the humor of Number One Son's attempts to help, but you also have the seriousness of the main mystery. sometimes the two tones don't work together, but here they do and the result is truly satisfying.

I really like this film a great deal and in a twisted sort of way think that this would be nicely paired with Todd Brownings Freaks, with which it shares a setting and some of the same actors.
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6/10
Chan: "Silent witness sometimes speaks loudest"...
Doylenf10 June 2008
This is a diverting, pleasantly enjoyable Charlie Chan film with WARNER OLAND as CHARLIE CHAN AT THE CIRCUS. In this outing, he takes his entire family to the circus while they're all on vacation and has to put up with the fumbling assistance of #1 son KEY Luke, who serves as comic relief.

Even more so than in most Chan entries, every utterance from Oland sounds like a Chinese fortune cookie--non-stop. And none of them sound authentically Chinese. That's the main quibble I have with the screenplay. But for the most part, it moves at a fast pace while it examines a group of suspects, all of whom had a motive for wanting the murdered man (the financial manager) out of the way.

The circus dancing team of midgets GEORGE and OLIVE BRASNO opens the story with some neat ballroom dance steps, but most of the plot focuses on an angry ape locked up in his cage but sometimes set loose. The murderer even makes it appear that the ape might have been responsible.

The only attempt on Chan's life comes from a poisonous snake that his son dispatches with a shotgun. Other than that, he's never in any real danger and that's where the plot falters slightly.

Meantime, we hear lots of his clichés and they don't sound very Oriental: "Size of package does not indicate quality within." "Give man plenty of rope and he will hang self." "Troubles rain on man already wet." And when he has a plan to catch the murderer, he says: "Silent witness sometimes speaks loudest." Enjoyable stuff for any mystery fan of the Chan series, but the material is all too familiar even for most Chan fans.
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7/10
Charlie Chan at the Circus (1936) ***
JoeKarlosi5 August 2008
CHARLIE CHAN AT THE CIRCUS (1936)

A good offering in the Fox series providing an interesting change of locale, with Charlie Chan enjoying a day at the circus with his rather extensive family, only to stay behind with son and partner Lee when some foul play erupts. A circus gorilla kills the owner, who happened to be a boss whom nobody liked. It's interesting to see substantial roles for George and Olive Brasno, who play the "little people" of the circus, who also were prominent in one of the old "Our Gang" shorts ("Shrimps For a Day"). Also welcome among the cast is J. Carrol Naish.

*** out of four
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Good Setting--Not So Good Mystery
dougdoepke14 June 2008
Average Chan fare at best, with good circus atmosphere but not much of a mystery. Too many of the suspects remain under-developed such that figuring out the culprit never really takes hold, while the plot itself remains more confusing than intriguing. There is some charming by-play between number one son Keye Luke and a winsome circus contortionist, along with a surprisingly fine turn by non-professional Olive Brasno, a real circus midget. The dance number with her equally diminutive brother shows how little size matters to the well-coordinated. The acrobats are also fun to watch, particularly the hanging-by-her-heels trick. However, the notorious man-in-a-gorilla-suit has a central role which cheapens the production, especially since this one appears to have a pronounced beer belly. All in all, a good setting helps liven up a rather poor script.
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Great Charlie Chan Film
whpratt111 June 2008
Enjoyed this film mostly because it finally showed the large family that Charlie Chan, ( Warner Oland) had with fourteen children all attending a circus which he was invited to along with even his wife and oldest son Keye Luke, (Lee Chan). Charlie gets involved with a murder case as usual and it seems that the two owners of this circus, John Gaines, (Francis Ford) and Joe Kinney, (Paul Stanton) are not getting along because the circus is losing money and Joe Kinney wants to take over the show. There is a wild ape who roams all over the place when someone releases him from his cage. Lee Chan has a hot romance going on with a female contortionist and always manages to put his foot into his mouth when trying to out smart his father Charlie. There is a great male and female team of midgets who give great dance performances and seem to appear in many of the scenes. In my opinion, this is one of Charlie Chan's great series. Enjoy.
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8/10
I liked this movie
ptrubey-11 July 2006
This was a fun movie. It was like most of Charlie Chan movies. I wish I could buy it. On VHS or DVD. It doesn't matter. Charlie takes the whole family to the circus and as usual there is a murder and Charlie & at least one of his children get involved. His children look like steps starting from the oldest to the youngest. They are all there. Even his wife is with them. It is a fun movie to watch like all of the Charlie Chan movies are. It is fun seeing all of the animals. and the acts. Charlie and Mrs. Chan have to try & keep all of the children in sight & safe. They are a hand full. Charlie has to figure out who the killer is while he is keeping his family safe. It's been a while since I have seen this movie. I wish TCM would have a Charlie Chan movie day.
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7/10
Some entertaining acts under this big top
pbalos16 July 2000
but overall not by any means the best Oland movie.You have everything here from a phony ape,to real animals, and some delightful sideshow characters.An interesting setting,but only a mediocre mystery.To see the large Chan clan is a nice addition.Keye Luke as Lee Chan does an admirable job.Don't juggle your schedule for this one, but it is worth seeing even with all the "cotton candy" involved in the script.
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7/10
Circus of Death & Financial Troubles In Bed Together
DKosty12330 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Warner Oland and Keye Luke get togther here with the whole 14 kid family at the circus. It is not every movie where all of them are on screen.. Even Mrs. Chan gets a line in this one. While the mystery is pretty much formula, the entire thing seems to go ape before a solution is found.

The cast is pretty solid in a good outing here. Under the uncredited, is 7 foot, 2 and 1/2 inch Giant man John Assan shows up here. I note his presence here as years later he is in one of Harold Lloyds better silent comedies- "Why Worry?". If you have never seen this one, check it out as it is a very funny movie.

The Giant man helps everyone find the victim. Mystery here is quite good ans Luke actually has an important role in helping Chan to solve it. Number 1 son gets important mission. He also tries to date a contorsionist. That puts twist into plot. Chan has dinner with little people (who were in Todd Browings classic "Freaks" 4 years earlier). It is an important clue and delays family trip to Grand Canyon.

it's a lot of fun, and shows a lot of the strength of the films in a solid outing.
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5/10
Cross-dressing at the circus!
Jim Tritten13 May 2002
Slow-moving (`No use hurrying unless sure of catching right train') Warner Oland mystery with Chan collaborating with No. 1 son Lee to catch murderer at the Kinney & Gaines Combined Circus. Despite authentic circus shots and comic relief by Lee and Colonel Tim and Lady Tiny, the action seems flat. Everyone disliked the victim who was obviously killed by Caesar the ape - but who let the ape loose? Co-owner Gaines is the obvious suspect but: `Cannot tell where path lead until reach end of road.' Chan escapes death: `Enemy who misses mark must coil to strike again.' Good scenes of entire Chan clan but this does not include Victor Sen Yung who will later play No. 2 son Jimmy. Lee resorts to dressing as woman to achieve disguise. Chan works this case with the police as willing co-conspirator. As in most Chan films, the detectives knows more than the audience, although in this case we can see what he saw but did not know how to interpret some of the key evidence. `One grain of luck sometimes worth more than whole rice field of wisdom.' In the end, `Death write finish to mystery.'
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