When an experimental plane is hijacked and its pilot murdered, the new guidance system that will allow it to fly unmanned is stolen. Charlie traces the strategically important invention to the current summer Olympic games in Berlin, where myriad spies, enemy agents, and hard-core criminals are ruthlessly pursuing it in order to sell it to another government. Charlie's son Lee, a member of the U.S. Olympic Swim Team, is on hand to help his father recover the device and solve the mystery.Written by
Gabe Taverney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The film, which referenced the Hindenburg as a means of transportation and included stock footage of it, was released 15 days following the Hindenburg disaster on May 6, 1937. See more »
When Charlie Chan, Jr. enters a room where his father and another officer are, Chan, Jr. says, "Pop, here are some cut-up tea and sandwiches," when what he really means is, "Pop, here are some cut-up sandwiches and tea." See more »
Decent entry, but "pulled from circulation shortly after its release"?
Some unnamed source at IMDb alleges that CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OLYMPICS, a film capitalizing on the then recent 1936 Berlin Olympics (taking place in Germany under Chancellor Hitler) and released on May 21, 1937, in the U.S and in the early fall of that year in Europe, was "pulled from circulation shortly after its release because it takes place in Nazi Germany." Could someone please define "shortly after its release"? The film, while sympathetically portraying the civilian police force in Berlin (interestingly played for irony and possibly surprise or subtext by frequent film villain Frederik Vogeding), pointedly incorporated actual newsreel footage of Jessie Owens' Olympic triumph which was so upsetting to the Herr Hitler. The film plot had considerable hurdles to surmount in avoiding the identification of the foreign power trying to steal the "McGuffin" military device. Most U.S. or British films of the period would have been more blatant in assuming the national guilty party, but Germany was still a major market for U.S. motion pictures (even if the Chan character himself must have been an anathema to Nazi Party leadership).
Even with the unsettling Anschlus in Austria and the Munich Crisis over the dismembering of Czechoslovakia; with the invasion of Poland and the formal start of European hostilities in World War II still a little more than a year away (U.S. entry into the conflict more than four years away!), America and much of the rest of the world was doing its best to ignore distressing realities within the Reich. While CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OLYMPICS had to do a fine dance to play to that desire to turn a blind eye, it largely succeeded. It is difficult to believe that 20th Century Fox would withdraw an entry in the wildly popular Chan series in anything which could be realistically considered "soon" (anything less than six months). A specific DATE of the withdrawal would be appreciated.
While the film over all may be one of the lesser Chan efforts, it has moments (the initial set-up in the U.S., the travelogue race to Berlin, the scenes in the Olympic Stadium and the final confrontation with the killers) which are as good as any in the canon. To be dismissed as "pulled from circulation shortly after its release" if it is demonstrably not true would be unfortunate.
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