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The Charlie Chan Chanthology (The Secret Service / The Chinese Cat / The Jade Mask / Meeting at Midnight / The Scarlet Clue / The Shanghai Cobra) (1945)

Sidney Toler , Mantan Moreland , Phil Karlson , Phil Rosen  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)

Price: $119.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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The Charlie Chan Chanthology (The Secret Service / The Chinese Cat / The Jade Mask / Meeting at Midnight / The Scarlet Clue / The Shanghai Cobra) + TCM Spotlight: Charlie Chan Collection (Dark Alibi / Dangerous Money / The Trap / The Chinese Ring) + Charlie Chan Collection (Shadows Over Chinatown / Docks of New Orleans / Shanghai Chest / The Golden Eye)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Sidney Toler, Mantan Moreland, Ben Carter, Benson Fong, Virginia Brissac
  • Directors: Phil Karlson, Phil Rosen
  • Writers: Earl Derr Biggers, George Callahan, George Wallace Sayre
  • Producers: James S. Burkett, Philip N. Krasne
  • Format: Box set, Black & White, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: July 6, 2004
  • Run Time: 390 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00020X87A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,188 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Charlie Chan Chanthology (The Secret Service / The Chinese Cat / The Jade Mask / Meeting at Midnight / The Scarlet Clue / The Shanghai Cobra)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Includes: The Secret Service, The Chinese Cat, The Jade Mask, Meeting at Midnight, The Scarlet Clue, and The Shanghai Cobra

Editorial Reviews

Product Description


Though the Charlie Chan film franchise has earned brickbats for its casting of Caucasian actors as the Asian sleuth, the movies have retained popularity among aficionados of '40s-era B-crime pictures, and the six-disc Charlie Chan Chanthology, all featuring Sidney Toler as Chan, should please that crowd. The Missouri-born Toler starred in 11 Chan pictures for Fox before purchasing the rights to the character from creator Earl Derr Biggers's widow and bringing it to budget studio Monogram, where he starred in 11 more Chans before his death in 1947 (Roland Winters replaced him in six more features until 1949). At Monogram, Chan became a Secret Service Agent (a move calculated to cut down on exotic locations and sets), and comedy was integrated into the plots via Mantan Moreland's chauffeur Birmingham Brown; Benson Fong also joined the cast as Number Three Son Tommy, with occasional appearances by daughter Frances (Frances Chan) and son Eddie (Edwin Luke, brother of Keye Luke, who played Number One Son Lee in the Fox Chans).

Other than that, the six films collected here (the first six Chans for Monogram, and all but five directed by Phil Rosen) are largely indistinguishable from one another save for the murder victims and their demises. In The Secret Service, Chan investigates the death of a wartime inventor; a San Francisco socialite expires in The Chinese Cat; daughter Frances is involved in the murder of a psychic in Meeting at Midnight (a.k.a. Black Magic); another government scientist is killed in The Jade Mask, and death by remote control is the focus of The Scarlet Clue. Director Phil Karlson (Kansas City Confidential) adds some noirish atmosphere to The Shanghai Cobra, which has bank employees dying from apparent snakebites. Dated and controversial as they may be, the Chan films are engaging diversions for vintage mystery fans. No extras are featured in the set. --Paul Gaita

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great set of dvds July 22, 2004
I loved the entire Charlie Chan series! These Monogram Chan films are very entertaining in my book.

Sure the early ones were better (that could be said of any film series), but the movies in this set have become old friends. I have no complaints about this set. It's good fun!

I just hope they put out the rest of the Charlie Chan series on DVD too.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charlie Chan Monogram series October 1, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I agree with those other reviewers that these 6 are not the best. However I still enjoy them and glad that I purchased them. These 6 films are good fun but probably not as good as the FOX movies. I can't hardly remember them. However I think they are more about traveling to solve the mystery. I hope Fox will someday release them. I'd purchase them in a heartbeat.
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the Best of Charlie Chan by a longshot... January 12, 2005
By Jon Ell
As others have commented, these are the Monogram movies that came out post-WWII and not very good when compared to the earlier movies from Fox (featuring Sydney Toler with #2 son Victor Sen Young and before that Warner Oland with #1 son Keye Luke). While I don't want to discourage anyone from these, know that these are not the movies that Chan enthusiasts such as myself know and love and that there is much better that has not (yet) made it to DVD. I do hope someone at Fox or whoever owns the rights to these movies gets the message and releases *those* movies on DVD. This is like releasing a James Bond series but excluding the Sean Connery films. I really wished they would have released those earlier movies first and issued these later.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
MGM Home Entertainment present "THE CHARLIE CHAN CHANTHOLOGY", featuring Sidney Toler as Honolulu detective Charlie Chan the popular Earl Derr Biggers character who took the country by storm in 1925...fighting for the underdog and on the side of good over evil, setting things right from wrong...Biggers penned the first Chan Book "The House Without A Key" while residing at the famous Halekulani Hotel...following the death of Warner Oland, Twentieth Century-Fox began the search for a new Charlie Chan... thirty-four actors were tested before the studio made their decision to choose Sidney Toler. Twentieth Century Fox announced their choice on October 18, 1938, and filming began less then a week later on Charlie Chan in Honolulu a film that had been originally scripted for Warner Oland and Keye Luke...Toler took on the role of Charlie Chan following Warner Oland's death in 1938, Toler's portrayal of the Chinese detective in Honolulu was very well received...besides Toler, there was another change in the series. Sen Yung, as Number Two Son Jimmy, replaced Number One Son Lee, who had been played by Keye Luke...Toler's Chan, rather than merely mimicking the character that Warner Oland had portrayed, had a somewhat sharper edge that was well suited for the rapid changes of the times, both political and cultural, that were on the horizon...Charlie Chan now directed well-intentioned sarcasm, usually toward his son Jimmy, when needed...however, there was never any doubt of the love that existed between father and son...although Mr. Chan might hurl a stinging barb, moments later he could often be seen offering loving comfort.

Disc One
"CHARLIE CHAN IN THE SECRET SERVICE" (1944) (65 mins/B&W) ...under director Phil Rosen, produced by James S. Burkett and Philip N.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What A Pleasant Surprise! July 13, 2004
I only came to know Charlie Chan and his stories from some of the novels translated into Chinese, when I was still in China years back. I loved it instantly, not because of the sentiment that he was a Chinese, but because of the excellent suspense and witty writing successfully interwoven to create a unique detective with both western approach and oriental wisdom. In fact Charlie, as depicted in the novel, does not really appeal to me as a genuine Chinese, though he was seen everywhere in the stories as giving witty oriental quotes. he is very far away from contemporary China and as people of my age (70s) would not really recognize him as Chinese. That, however does not stop me from enjoying the stories and Charlie as a successfully created literary figure. It's so entertaining! I was so appralled to find out one day the news of this box release and didn't even hesitate to place the order right way. It's a must see for all detective story lovers!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars love the Chanthology! April 26, 2005
I've loved these movies for years. I'm extremely pleased with the Chanthology. I'd love to own all of Chan films starring Oland, Toler, and Winter(I even appreciated Ross Martin).
I have a place in my heart for all of the Charlie Chan movies. Please give us all of the Chan films on DVD! Charlie is greatly beloved. He and his fans deserve the best.
Give us more Chan!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please Make More Sets of Charlie Chan September 3, 2005
By Daezy
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
For all of us old movie buffs, these are a treasure. They seem to have been blackballed, so to speak, a la "Fahrenheit 451", so the boxed DVD sets are a treat. We dearly hope that more sets of all these treasures are made.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the Chinese sleuth July 7, 2004
By A Customer
Don't understand why people think this is politically incorrect. I am Chinese and I love Charlie Chan. Maybe people are envious of the Asian brain power. Wish there were more Charlie Chans available.
As to the reviewer whining about FULL SCREEN, I wonder what it is all about. In the 1940's, all movies are FULL SCREEN. What an idiotic statment wanting it in widescreen.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Bought this as a gift for my father and he loves it.
Published 1 month ago by purpleiris
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Charlie Chan has always been one of my favorite characters,
Published 1 month ago by Kimberly Perkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by John J. Wedrall
5.0 out of 5 stars This review is for the Charlie Chan, Chanthology, not the ridiculous...
Review for item, not price. If you are a Charlie Chan fan like myself, you will want this set. However, be aware that three of these titles are available as a 3 title 1 disc set. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Ralph J. Fitcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic!
If you love the old-time, low-tech, corny, black and white classic movie, then Charlie Chan is about everything you can ask for!
Published 4 months ago by Shoe Fan
5.0 out of 5 stars The Charlie Chan Chanthology Movies on DVD
Sydney Toler was the best Charlie Chan ever and was a shame for
him to die so very young. These movies are great and next month
i will view them for the fourth time.
Published 7 months ago by Bernard Campbell
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
Since I watched some Charlie Chan movies when I was young. I have decided to go back to watch those movies again even though I saw it before. Read more
Published 8 months ago by K.S.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Gift
Yes, there's a whole group of super fans of Charlie Chan, and my sister is one of them. Thank you for the perfect Christmas gift idea!
Published 9 months ago by JeffBlumenthal
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best
Sidney was and is the best Chan ever put out in the movies. I always enjoy re-watching the CD occasionally.
Published 9 months ago by James C. Imfeld
4.0 out of 5 stars Love old school movies
Classic movies that are light hearted and offers clean family entertainment. It's a shame that Asian American actors weren't afforded the opportunity to play the lead role... Read more
Published 9 months ago by ewashing
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Topic From this Discussion
Charlie Chan at Treasure Island
You can now preorder it in Charlie Chan Volume 4 which is the first 4 films Toler made for Fox. This collection is the first 6 he made for Monogram.
Nov 21, 2007 by Eric Pregosin |  See all 2 posts
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