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Charlie Chan in The Shanghai Cobra (1945)

Sidney Toler , Mantan Moreland , Phil Karlson  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Sidney Toler, Mantan Moreland, Benson Fong, James Cardwell, Joan Barclay
  • Directors: Phil Karlson
  • Writers: Earl Derr Biggers, George Callahan, George Wallace Sayre
  • Producers: James S. Burkett
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • 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: 64 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00020X870
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,957 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Charlie Chan in The Shanghai Cobra" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

From the director of Kansas City Confidential and The Silencers comes this universal Chan mystery. Containing a number of film noir elements unique to the series (such as a weary young detective, stark urban sets and a grown-up romance), The Shanghai Cobra is one of the most striking Chans of all! Charlie Chan (Sidney Toler) is called to investigate a strange and complicated series of mysterious murders by cobra venom. Soon Charlie, Number Three Son Tommy (Benson Fong) and ever-present assistant Birmhingham Brown are on the trail of an escaped con from Shanghai who's out to rob a government vault of its valuable contents: highly toxic radium!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cobra Venom Is The Weapon August 25, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
The killer uses venom from a cobra to eliminate his victims in this film. Sidney Toler plays Chan and the cast includes Benson Fong as Tommie Chan and Manton Moreland in the role of Birmingham Brown. Fong and Moreland are really quite good as a comic team. George Callahan and George Wallace Sayre handle the screen play. THE SHANGHAI COBRA is one of the better entries in the Chan series.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars By Far The Best Monogram Chan movie February 10, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
"The Shanghai Cobra" is my favorite of the Monogram Charlie Chans. It is beautifully atmospheric in the opening scenes, and I think Phil Karlson, the director (his first of two Chan outings, the other being "Dark Alibi" [1946]which is also worth watching)adds alot of these great effects, making it an enjoyable mystery that will keep you guessing. The comedy in this entry is superb with a wordplay gag about "u-turns" running all through the film. The sets and the noticable shadows and darkness make it almost like a "film noir" movie. Some action takes place in the sewers below the bank that they are doing investigations in(more darkness.)I also enjoyed the "flashback" when they showed Charlie Chan in his visit to Shanghai in '36 and '37. A fun film, a good mystery, and atmospheric at the same time, I would recommend this film highly to any Charlie Chan fan. Excuse, Please...
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Chans, and miraculous for a Monogram November 8, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
Low-budget Monogram Pictures usually did a serviceable job with its Charlie Chan mysteries, but this one is exceptional. Thoughtful direction (by Phil Karlson) and excellent camerawork (by Vincent Farrar) give the film far more atmosphere and production polish than usual. You'll notice, as early as the opening scene, the imaginative staging and camera angles, unusual sets, and clever technical gimmicks, all enhancing the excellent film-noir-style presentation. Series regulars Sidney Toler, Benson Fong, and Mantan Moreland are in good form, aided by a fine cast of familiar character actors (Joan Woodbury, James Cardwell, Addison Richards, George Chandler, and a host of others). If you've never seen a Monogram Chan, try this.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is one of the better Monogram Chans. August 21, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
This mystery concerns the murder of several victims by cobra bites. It has Mantan Moreland and Benson Fong again getting into trouble as usual. The criminals' objective is to rob a bank vault of a valuable government depository of radium. The viewer must follow the plot closely since the denouement when Chan finally corners the leader occurs rapidly. This film uses the new invention of television well as part of the criminals' devices. The running gag in this film concerns Birmingham getting an illegal U-turn ticket and saying "But you said 'No, you turn here! So I turned!'" At the end of the film, Chan himself gets an illegal U-turn ticket and uses the same excuse to the inspector. "But you say 'No, you turn here!' and everybody ends up laughing. Classic Chan line is "Cannot sell bear skin before shooting bear".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Did they have cams in 1945? August 14, 2011
It's a rainy night. Two sly people, Mr. Black (Stephen Gregory) and Paula (Joan Barclay) met each other in a cafe owned by Joe (George Chandler). Paula needs to tell Mr. Black something, but was surprised to see Ned (James Cardwell) come in. Mr. Black needs to tell Paula something too.
Something else is interesting, the record machine operator (Janet Warren) also makes note of Mr. Black and asks an unseen person in the dark if that was him.
Paula hurries outside in the rain to speak to Mr. Black. Suddenly, Mr. Black clutches his chest and collapses. A crowd of people gather and Paula says she will get help. Instead, she runs through the cafe and disappears.
They need the help of Charlie Chan.

Sidney Toler, Benson Fong and Mantan Moreland return.

This is Sidney Toler's 17th appearance as "Charlie Chan".

Also in the cast: Addison Richards, Arthur Loft, Gene Roth, Joe Devlin, Paul Newlan.

Interesting note: Could it be? Did this film invent the first cam device that shows up on a television screen on the wall? The Record Machine lady can see the people requesting music on the television screen by the cam in the machine.

Running Time: 64 minutes.

Next Mystery:
Charlie Chan in the Red Dragon (1945)
Charlie Chan in the Dark Alibi (1946)
Charlie Chan in the Shadows Over Chinatown (1946)
Charlie Chan in the Dangerous Money (1946)
Charlie Chan in the The Trap (1947)

Beginning with The Chinese Ring (1947), Roland Winters took over the role of "Charlie Chan" as Sidney Toler had passed away in 1947.
Roland Winters made 6 "Charlie Chan" movies.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One more mystery solved. February 11, 2010
By W. Adam
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Charlie Chan solves another baffing case--this time it's the Shanghai Cobra. You have to like B&W movies, they really give you a special feeling with the lighting techniques and Sidney Toler is the best Charlie Chan
If you love Charlie Chan, this is a good one, lots of characters, good plot, and clever ending.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "No, U Turn Here!" June 19, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Those Charlie Chan fans who only consider the topflight series at Fox worth watching, dismissing the "B" films made after Sidney Toler bought the rights to Earl Derr Biggers' famous detective and took him to Poverty Row, are truly missing out on some great fun. While it is true some of the films were marginal "B" yarns, a few were solid entries, and a couple were stellar efforts. The Shanghai Cobra is so good in fact, it easily ranks as one of the most enjoyable in the entire series.

The opening scene on a rainy night sets an atmospheric tone to this fun Chan entry, marked with humor, more action than usual, a pretty nifty little mystery, and some excellent sets which director Phil Karlson makes the most of. An interesting device of an unseen girl behind a diner jukebox occasionally gives the viewer a sense of watching an audience, watching a Charlie Chan film! It not only adds to the fun in the screenplay from George Callahan and George Wallace Sayre, but proves an integral part in solving the Cobra part of the mystery.

Nicely photographed by Vincent Farrar for Monogram, the opening sequence catches a woman following a man into a diner on a rainy night, and before it's over, the man will be the latest victim of a killer who dispatches his victims with cobra venom. The killings date all the way back to 1937 Shanghai, when Charlie brought in a suspect, only to lose him during Japanese bombings. Only Charlie, now working for the US Government, has ever seen him, so is quickly summoned to help. Adding fun to this quite serious task is Benson Fong as Charlie's son Tommy, and Mantan Moreland as Birmingham.

Chan is quite suspicious that all those murdered work for the same bank.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Parents
This is a good murder mystery and it help keep the parents and others out of my way when I am cleaning
Published 7 months ago by Tanya Pownall
5.0 out of 5 stars Charlie Chan
I enjoy all the Charlie Chan movies. They are very entertaning to watch. Good movies are hard to find today.
Published 8 months ago by Cindy
5.0 out of 5 stars Charlie Chan
I like all of Sidney Toler's Charlie Chan movies.He is Charlie Chan the same way Sean Conery is James Bond.
Published 10 months ago by Donald C.
4.0 out of 5 stars Liked it very much
It's a form of comfort food for the mind. Things were much simpler then, but not for the people living in those times: they had all the hopes and fears we have now. Read more
Published 14 months ago by E. Kienzle
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun story-line to this mystery.
This story, I think is one of my favorites of the Monogram entries. I realize that the budget for the Charlie Chan Films was considerably streamed down when they were produced... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Lawrence Nepodahl
3.0 out of 5 stars It's OK
I have the most of the Charlie Chan movies in my collection. This was a bit weak in content. Not the usual good stuff I have come to expect!
Published on December 8, 2011 by Michael Kelly
3.0 out of 5 stars 'Tommy' & 'Birmingham' Add Spark
This Charlie Chan entry was more mystery-oriented than most of the Monogram Pictures versions, which tended to rely more on humor. Read more
Published on May 28, 2009 by Craig Connell
3.0 out of 5 stars Needed this to fill my collection
I purchased this DVD to fill my Chan collection, as the copy in my previously purchased "Chanthology" collection was damaged and unplayable. Read more
Published on March 29, 2009 by MattSub
4.0 out of 5 stars A Clever Murder and a hidden Murderer...
1945's "The Shanghai Cobra" is a better than average Charlie Chan movie of those featuring Sidney Toler as the famous Honolulu Detective, here seconded to U.S. Read more
Published on April 10, 2008 by D. S. Thurlow
3.0 out of 5 stars Sidney Toler Plays Tough and Soft
After Warner Oland died, Sidney Toler took over the role of Charlie Chan. Oland brought a natural dignity to the role that made Charlie seem like a beloved, rotund uncle. Read more
Published on April 1, 2008 by Donald Mitchell
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