31 user 14 critic

Charlie Chan's Secret (1936)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 10 January 1936 (USA)
The heir to a huge fortune is presumed drowned, then shows up, is then murdered.


Gordon Wiles


Robert Ellis (screenplay), Helen Logan (screenplay) | 4 more credits »




Complete credited cast:
Warner Oland ... Charlie Chan
Rosina Lawrence ... Alice Lowell
Charles Quigley ... Dick Williams
Henrietta Crosman ... Henrietta Lowell
Edward Trevor Edward Trevor ... Fred Gage
Astrid Allwyn ... Janice Gage
Herbert Mundin ... Baxter
Jonathan Hale ... Warren T. Phelps
Egon Brecher Egon Brecher ... Ulrich
Gloria Roy Gloria Roy ... Carlotta
Ivan Miller Ivan Miller ... Inspector Morton
Arthur Edmund Carewe ... Prof. Bowen (as Arthur Edmund Carew)


An ocean liner sinks off Honolulu and Allen Colby, heir to millions, is presumed dead...but local sleuth Charlie Chan is not so sure, and flies to San Francisco to investigate further. Somehow, the missing Colby is there ahead of him...but is knifed in the back before seeing anyone. Further events revolve around spiritualist Mrs. Lowell, her family of suspicious characters, and the spooky, untenanted Colby mansion, where the body turns up during a seance! Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


San Francisco is the scene of Chan's newest and most baffling mystery!


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


About eight minutes in there is a brief scene of a Sikorsky S-42 overflying the unfinished San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge--two historic icons in one picture. See more »


When Charlie is searching the house while using a flashlight, the beam of light is not from the flashlight, angle is wrong and his wrist is exposed in the beam of light. See more »


Fred Gage: I know this place inside out. It's a regulare honeycomb that starts everywhere and ends nowhere.
Charlie Chan: Will investigate honeycomb later. Maybe find bee.
See more »


Followed by The Trap (1946) See more »

User Reviews

Charlie Chan's Secret was another enjoyable entry in the Warner Oland film series
21 February 2010 | by tavmSee all my reviews

This review is the second of a series of such that I'm devoting to the films of the Charlie Chan franchise. Once again, Warner Oland portrays the famous Chinese detective with his humor and intelligence intact. This time, he's investigating the possible reappearance of one Allen Colby (Jerry Miley) for an inheritance. But there are many associates of his that would rather he not show up...This was another enjoyable Chan entry I liked especially when Herbert Mundin as butler Baxter does some grimaces whenever he has to do something he doesn't want to do. He gets quite funnier with each appearance. And Henrietta Crossman is also fine as an old friend of Charlie's who gets pertinent info about certain things from him. All in all, I rather found Charlie Chan's Secret very good overall. P.S. I feel the need to mention another player from my birthtown of Chicago, Ill., here. This time, it's James T. Mack as the fingerprint man. Also, the coroner played by Landers Stevens is the father of director George Stevens. The lawyer, Warren T. Phelps, is played by Jonathan Hale who a year later would begin essaying his best known role, that of J.C. Dithers in the Blondie movie series. And Rosina Lawrence-who's Alice Lowel here-would eventually become Our Gang/Little Rascals new teacher and appear with Laurel & Hardy in their classic, Way Out West. She'd also decades later marry the man who chronicled the comic duo's lives and careers in books, John McCabe.

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Release Date:

10 January 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Charlie Chanova skrivnost See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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