When a troupe of showgirls with their impresario and press agent vacation at a Malibu Beach resort, two of them are garroted. Charlie takes on the case assisted by Number Two Son Jimmy and faithful chauffeur Birmingham Brown.
Victor Sen Yung
Princess Mei Ling pays a visit to the Chan residence, where upon being admitted by man-of-all-work Birmingham Brown she refuses to give her name, but hands Birmingham her ring to show to Charlie. While Chan is being summoned, a mysterious figure shoots a dart at the beautiful Princess who manages, before she dies of poison, to scrawl the name "Captain K" on a handy piece of paper. When the police arrive, Charlie has to admit that he does not know the identity of his murdered visitor, but that he means to find out. What he learns is that Mei Ling has brought with her to America the sum of one million dollars, in order to buy airplanes for the Chinese struggle for freedom. Someone has stolen the money, and someone may be trying to divert the planes into enemy hands. Can the famous detective, despite the fact that his Number Two Son has unaccountably changed his name from Jimmy to Tommy, who used to be his Number Three son, and despite the fact that Charlie, who used to be a Honolulu ...Written by
I cannot say that "The Chinese Ring" is a bad mystery movie, because it isn't. The production values are good enough, especially considering the studio that made it. Although the story and some of the dialog is literally a remake of an older Monogram "Mr. Wong" film, the producers seem to be trying to put forth a dignified continuation of the established Chan series; I do not believe that this is a "take the money and run" fast-buck ripoff (like say Jaws 4,5, 9 etc). It is a legit effort and William Beaudine was probably as fine and established a director as Monogram could afford to hire.
Roland Winters was a good actor who had a long and distinguished career. He was the studio's choice to continue the Chan character and probably wasn't the best choice but I guess he is adequate. Winters seems tentative here but has the thankless task of following up his two beloved and deceased predecessors in the ongoing role of Charlie Chan. His acting approach here is too careful and very deliberate but doesn't lack skill, and he manages to avoid what could have been career suicide. He does become a little more forceful and lively in his subsequent Chan films.
Moreland and Sen Yung are capable in support and manage to avoid the outright buffoonery that was required of them in previous Chan outings. Phillip Ahn is a very recognizable actor in a villain role. He does a good job and he is another example of the studio's commitment to the Chan project, since they could have used a much cheaper unknown actor if so inclined.
This is an OK mystery story (after all, its a tried-and-true story from a good prior film). It works as a mystery and moves along at a brisk enough clip for the most part. Overall not a great film, but not a bad one.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this