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Charlie Chan in The Chinese Cat (1944)

Charlie Chan investigates the locked-room murder of a chess expert.


Phil Rosen


George Callahan (original screenplay), Earl Derr Biggers (character)

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Complete credited cast:
Sidney Toler ... Charlie Chan
Joan Woodbury ... Leah Manning
Mantan Moreland ... Birmingham Brown
Benson Fong ... Tommy Chan
Ian Keith ... Dr. Paul Recknik
Sam Flint ... Thomas P. Manning
Cy Kendall ... Webster Deacon
Weldon Heyburn ... Det. Harvey Dennis
Anthony Warde ... Catlen (as Anthony Ward)
John Davidson ... Carl Karzdas / Kurt Karzdas
Dewey Robinson ... Salos
I. Stanford Jolley ... Gannet (as Stan Jolley)
Betty Blythe ... Mrs. Manning
Jack Norton ... Hotel Desk Clerk
Luke Chan Luke Chan ... Wu Song


Thomas P. Manning, businessman and chess expert mysteriously shot in a locked room, dies clutching some chess pieces. Police are baffled, and finally abandon the case. Six months later, victim's daughter Leah Manning, stung by a scurrilous book about the case, enlists the aid of Charlie Chan and Number 3 Son. Additional murders follow, leading to a climactic confrontation in a seemingly deserted "Fun House." Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


"MUST CONFESS. HONORABLE SON...This Is My Most Baffling Case!"


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Release Date:

20 May 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Murder in the Fun House See more »


Box Office


$75,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Monogram Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film received its earliest documented telecast in New York City Sunday 15 August 1948 on WCBS (Channel 2), in Chicago Friday 10 December 1948 on WBKB (Channel 4), in Syracuse Wednesday 13 April 1949 on WHEN (Channel 8), in Cincinnati Friday 27 May 1949 on WKRC (Channel 11), in San Francisco Tuesday 15 November 1949 on KPIX (Channel 5), in Boston Sunday 14 May 1950 on WNAC (Channel 7), and in Los Angeles Thursday 21 September 1950 on KTLA (Channel 5). See more »


The character played by Cy Kendall is identified as Webster Deacon in dialogue, but George Deacon in a newspaper insert. See more »


Birmingham Brown, Taxi Driver: Uh-oh. My pin-up boy again.
See more »


Follows Charlie Chan on Broadway (1937) See more »

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User Reviews

a Monogram B film, need I say more?
10 November 2011 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Sidney Toler is Charlie Chan in "Charlie Chan in the Chinese Cat," a 1944 film, part of the Monogram Chinese Chan series. These films were made for twenty cents and probably took a day to film. Nevertheless, they can be fun.

Charlie here is trying to solve a locked-door murder that the police gave up on; however, a book has been published all but accusing the victim's wife of killing him, and his stepdaughter (Leah Manning) begs Charlie to investigate before he moves on to his next case. With the help (sort of) of taxi driver Birmingham Brown (Mantan Moreland) and Charlie's son #3 (Benson Fong), he sets out to find what really happened.

The Monogram Chan series is not as fun or as good as the Fox series, but when Fox dropped Charlie Chan, Sidney Toler took him to Monogram. Toler had gotten the rights from Earl Derr Biggers' widow. After Toler died, the role went to Roland Winters.

Some of the dialogue here is quite fun as Charlie berates his son's presence and ability, though #3 son ends up acquitting himself quite well. Mantan Moreland is good as Birmingham, in fact, he was one of the best things about the series, but he doesn't have much to do here. His usual character was that of the Chan chauffeur. Now he's a taxi driver who worked with Chan previously and comes back into the fold.

Just to show how quickly these were filmed, in one scene, Charlie breaks a numbered light series which shows what maze in a fun house is being used. One of the light bulbs remains intact, but they didn't re-film it.

Anyway, the mystery here is pretty good, and the fun house maze is entertaining. Recommended for Charlie Chan fans.

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