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Charlie Chan in The Chinese Cat (1944)

Sidney Toler , Joan Woodbury , Phil Rosen  |  NR |  DVD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Sidney Toler, Joan Woodbury, Mantan Moreland, Benson Fong, Ian Keith
  • Directors: Phil Rosen
  • Writers: Earl Derr Biggers, George Callahan
  • Producers: James S. Burkett, Philip N. Krasne
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: July 6, 2004
  • Run Time: 66 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00020X866
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,635 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Charlie Chan in The Chinese Cat" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Number Three Son Tommy comes to the aid of a damsel in distress - by offering Charlie Chan's services - in this "top-notch whodunnit fare" (Variety) starring Sidney Toler and Benson Fong. LeahManning (Joan Woodbury) has never stopped searching for her father's murderer, although the police and the DA gave up long ago. And now, to add insult to injury, an "expert criminologist" has writtena "novel" accusing her mother of the crime! Charlie's investigation leads him to a cutthroat gang of gem thieves out to steal a wealth of diamonds hidden in a porcelain Chinese cat!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good entry from the Monogram series April 26, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Monogram Pictures, one of the smaller Hollywood studios, really tried to make its Charlie Chan mysteries competitive with major-studio product, and this time it worked. "The Chinese Cat" (1944) has everything audiences had come to expect from the series: a capable cast of familiar character actors (Cy kendall, Ian Keith, Joan Woodbury, and at least four favorite serial performers), good direction (by the normally uninspired Phil Rosen), and striking photography (by veteran cameraman Ira Morgan). The story concerns an unsolved murder, and a muck-raking novelist whose latest book hits too close to home. Sidney Toler and Mantan Moreland are always enjoyable, and number-three son Benson Fong has more to do than usual (he defies the criminal mastermind in a memorable scene). Charlie Chan fans will enjoy this; followers of the Monogram corpus will applaud this fine companion piece to "The Shanghai Cobra" and "The Scarlet Clue." This is one "B" that gets a solid "A" for effort.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
For some reason, the second Monogram Chan movie is a bit slow moving during the first half of the film. Mantan Moreland's comedy material is not very good this time, but would improve in The Scarlet Clue and The Shanghai Cobra. Chan and Number 3 son Tommy get captured and roughed up this time, unusual in a Chan film. I would call this a middling effort from Monogram. Classic Chan line is "Expert is merely man who make quick decision--and is sometimes right."
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Chauffeur For Charlie August 28, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
THE CHINESE CAT is a surprisingly good war-time film by Monogram. Sidney Toler is back as Charlie and Benson Fong has the role of Tommy Chan. Tommy is Charlie's number three son. Manton Moreland as Birmingham Brown begins the movie as a cab driver and ends up as Charlie's chauffeur. Some of the best scenes take place in a fun house.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Murder is His Business May 24, 2007
Format:VHS Tape
A man is working on a chess game. Someone enters and fires two shots; Thomas Manning is found dead in a locked room. There are no clues, and the case is dropped. Miss Manning visits to ask Charlie Chan for help. A novel was written that accuses her mother of the crime. [There are jokes sprinkled in the dialogue for amusement. The prices date this picture.] A telephone call summons Chan to give him information about the murder. But a stranger makes sure he will tell no tales. Detective Dennis shows up, he was trailing Chan. They discover statues hidden away in loaves of bread. Chan talks to Dr. Paul Rechnick about his book Mrs. Manning was alone in the house at the time of the murder. Next they visit the murder room; there is a secret panel and door to another room. Somebody places a bomb in Chan's taxi, but Chan escapes this attempt.

Chan visits Wu San, the artist who created those hidden statues. There are gems hidden inside! When Chan visits Manning's partner they discover new facts. When this man is found dead there are no clues. Somebody uses a poison gas in their hotel room, but it is discovered in time. Three murders by three different methods seems puzzling. But Chan figures out a solution based on the wrong pieces for a jigsaw puzzle. Chan returns to the closed "Fun House" and is found by the criminal gang. After some adventures and threats (more comic than serious) the murders are solved. The last minutes explain the murders. One of the gang tried a double-cross, and this started the reaction.

The first pictures in this series were murder mysteries with some comic or witty remarks. This film has too much comedy to be a murder mystery, and too many murders to be a comedy. Yet the success of this series says they met the needs of the audiences.
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Loosely based on novels by Earl Derr Biggers, 20th Century Fox's Charlie Chan series proved an audience favorite--but when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor the studio feared audiences would turn against its Asian hero. This was a miscalculation: actor Sidney Toler took the role to "poverty row" Monogram Studios, where he continued to portray the character in eleven more popular films made between 1944 and his death in 1947.

20th Century Fox had regarded the Chan films as inexpensive "B" movies, but even so the studio took considerable care with them: the plots were often silly, but the pace was sharp, the dialogue witty, and the casts (which featured the likes of Bela Lugosi and Ray Milland) always expert. The result was a kindly charm which has stood the test of time. Monogram was a different matter: Chan films were "B" movies plain and simple. Little care was taken with scripts or cast and resulting films were flat, mediocre at best, virtually unwatchable at worst.

Released in 1944, THE CHINESE CAT finds Chan beset by son Tommy, who has promised the step-daughter of a murdered man assistance; they are joined in the investigation by cab driver Birmigham, who is not overeager to be reunited with the Chans given that murder tends to follow in their wake. Indeed, there will be three murders, stolen jewels, and a carnival fun house before the killers are captured. Like all the Monogram Chan films, the plot is trivial and the script even more so; unlike the worst of the Monogram Chan films, however, it does have the occasional touch of atmosphere and moves at a respectable pace.

Sidney Toler gives a nice reprise of Charlie Chan in this film, but as usual in the Monogram Chan films Mantan Moreland (Birmingham) is the real scene stealer.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Chinese Cat contains a secret
Charlie Chan does it again. He finds the murderer after investigating all secrets and the clues. There is a happy ending as usual with Charlie, his family and funny valet,... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Nancy L McPherson
2.0 out of 5 stars Tolerable -
Charlie Chan solves a year-old murder case in two days, wrapping things up at the last minute. Unfortunately his acting is so stilted and the plot so thin that there really isn't... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Loyd E. Eskildson
3.0 out of 5 stars The Monogram Chan's are Fun TOO!
I realize that the budget for the Charlie Chan Films was considerably streamed down when they were produced through the poverty row studio, Monogram. Read more
Published on September 28, 2012 by Lawrence Nepodahl
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent Chan Story by Monogram Pictures
Charlie Chan and the Chinese Cat was a bit sub-standard production of Monogram Pictures and since it was a later show, probably that's why the predictable script and story. Read more
Published on November 20, 2011 by Scotman's Critic's Corner
5.0 out of 5 stars Charlie Chan in the Chinese Cat
I am an advid Charlie Chan fan. I have collected all DVD's except for six that I have been told over and over again that they are considered LOST. Read more
Published on August 20, 2011 by Matt Hopf
5.0 out of 5 stars Tommy and Birmingham return to help Charlie Chan.
Benson Fong ("Tommy", #3 son) and Mantan Moreland ("Birmingham Brown") return.
Thomas Manning (Sam Flint) has been shot in his study, but by whom? The door is locked. Read more
Published on August 7, 2011 by James McDonald
4.0 out of 5 stars Good as I remembered
This was as good as I remembered from childhood, maybe even better I appreciate it more now. This should be on a classic list...very funny!
Published on February 20, 2010 by Elaine Dodd
3.0 out of 5 stars Hey, Charlie, Lighten Up On `Number Three!'
These Sidney Toler "Monogram" Chan films, the last in the series, don't measure up to Warner Oland's earlier efforts but they are still very entertaining to me. Read more
Published on February 5, 2009 by Craig Connell
3.0 out of 5 stars Chasing Ghosts in a Funhouse....
1944's "The Chinese Cat" pits famous detective Charlie Chan, here played by Sidney Toler, against a murderous diamond smuggling gang. Read more
Published on April 8, 2008 by D.S.Thurlow
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Entry From THE CHANTOLOGY Box Set
The 6 films in the box set basically concentrated on Sidney Toler as Charlie Chan joining the US Government during WII and solving mysteries involving weapons and other sundry... Read more
Published on April 21, 2007 by Terry D. Robertson
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