21 user 4 critic

Shadows Over Chinatown (1946)

Charlie investigates murders connected with insurance fraud. This one is set in San Francisco's Chinatown.


Terry O. Morse (as Terry Morse)


Earl Derr Biggers (characters), Raymond L. Schrock


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sidney Toler ... Charlie Chan
Mantan Moreland ... Birmingham Brown
Victor Sen Yung ... Jimmy Chan (as Victor Sen Young)
Tanis Chandler ... Mary Conover
John Gallaudet ... Jeff Hay
Paul Bryar ... Mike Rogan
Bruce Kellogg ... Jack Tilford
Al Bridge ... Capt. Allen (as Alan Bridge)
Mary Gordon ... Mrs. Conover
Dorothy Granger ... Joan Mercer
Jack Norton ... Mr. Cosgrove
George Eldredge George Eldredge ... Lannigan
Tyra Vaughn Tyra Vaughn ... Miss Chalmers
Lyle Latell Lyle Latell ... Police Clerk
Mira McKinney ... Kate Johnson (as Myra McKinney)


Chinese detective Charlie Chan (Sidney Toler) is on his way to San Francisco to take over a murder case when he meets a woman, Mrs. Conover (Mary Gordon), who is searching for her missing daughter and a young man, Jeff Tilford (Bruce Kellogg), who is looking for his missing fiancee. Investigation by Charlie discloses they are both looking for the same girl, Mary Conover (Tanis Chandler). Chan eventually uncovers a murder gang, which has been collecting the life insurance of its victims. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Chan follows the trail of a blood-chilling wave of torso slayings! See more »







Release Date:

27 June 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Charlie Chan in Shadows Over Chinatown See more »


Box Office


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

Company Credits

Production Co:

Monogram Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The thirty-eighth of forty-seven Charlie Chan movies. See more »


The scene of the bus supposedly pulling into the San Francisco terminal was very obviously filmed in Hollywood. See more »


Jimmy Chan: Com'on, Birmingham. Shake a leg.
Birmingham Brown: Who do you think I am? Man O' War? I ain't run this fast since I ran into a hornet's nest!
See more »


Follows Dark Alibi (1946) See more »

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User Reviews

24 February 2011 | by xnet95See all my reviews

This movie is a total train wreck. I've never seen such a badly constructed movie in all my life. The story is virtually impossible to follow. Characters aren't properly introduced and we're supposed to know who they are and what they're doing!?! You literally need a scorecard to keep track of all the names that come flying at you in rapid fire succession. Plus, there are aliases we have to remember, too. One guy has at least 4 aliases. I can't see how anybody could know what's going on in this film without watching it at least 5 times. Maybe Monogram did that on purpose so that people would come back and pay to see it again.

Here are a few of the problems. The PI is not properly introduced. We don't know who he is. At he beginning of the movie, the bus breaks down and all the passengers wait in a room while the bus is being repaired. Some guy takes over and starts telling people what to do. He wants to frisk the Marine that walks in, and we don't know who this guy is (Is he a gay man that wants to "cop a feel"?). We don't know his name, and we don't know why he feels he has the authority to tell people what to do. When the bus finally gets to San Francisco, we find out that he is a PI, but we still don't know who he is. Why is he in San Francisco? Is it work or pleasure? There's no conversation with Charlie to introduce him, so we have no idea what this guy is all about. The big problem is that this PI plays an integral role in the film, plus he pops up every 5-10 minutes like the human whack-a-mole.

Why-oh-why-oh-why is Kate found dead in Mary Conover's apartment!?! This one really bothers me. We are barely introduced to Kate, but after multiple viewings I figured out that she is the woman traveling with Mary's grandmother. She is there to help Grandma find Mary because they DON'T KNOW where Mary is. If they don't know where Mary is, how could Kate be in her apartment? Is she keeping secrets from Grandma? One simple scene with Kate telling Grandma she was going to investigate a tip would've helped to clear up this major plot-hole, but the inept losers that made this mess didn't feel it was necessary. Which leads me to…

Bumbleham Brown and Jimmy are total dead wood in this flick. They have absolutely NO rapport with each other. Every scene they are in could've been eliminated and the time used to explain some of the HUGE plot-holes.

The name of the film is "Shadows over Chinatown". Why? Does any of the action take place in Chinatown? How do we know they are in Chinatown? I only found out that many of the scenes took place in Chinatown after reading a review of this flick. There's NOTHING in this film that looks Chinese, except Charlie and Jimmy. Jimmy and Bumbleham go into a Chinese restaurant that looked like a Jewish deli from the outside, but we don't see the Chinese interior, we don't see Chinese architecture, we don't even see any Chinese people. There is absolutely nothing Chinese about the Chinatown in this film. It could be Anywhere, USA.

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