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Charlie Chan Collection, Vol. 5 (Charlie Chan At The Wax Museum/Murder Over New York/Dead Men Tell/Charlie Chan In Rio/Charlie Chan In Panama/Murder Cruise/Castle in the Desert) (2008)

Sidney Toler , Victor Sen Young  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)

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Charlie Chan Collection, Vol. 5 (Charlie Chan At The Wax Museum/Murder Over New York/Dead Men Tell/Charlie Chan In Rio/Charlie Chan In Panama/Murder Cruise/Castle in the Desert) + Charlie Chan Collection, Vol. 4 (Charlie Chan in Honolulu / Charlie Chan in Reno / Charlie Chan at Treasure Island / City in Darkness) + Charlie Chan Collection, Volume  3 (Charlie Chan's Secret / Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo / Charlie Chan on Broadway / The Black Camel)
Price for all three: $75.62

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Product Details

  • Actors: Sidney Toler, Victor Sen Young
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Black & White, Full Screen
  • Language: English (Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • DVD Release Date: September 16, 2008
  • Run Time: 451 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001ARDBXK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,385 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

  • Three double-sided discs and one single-sided disc

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

The Charlie Chan Collection Volume 5 brings Fox's series of film mysteries based on Earl Derr Biggers' Chinese-Hawaiian detective to a conclusion with the studio's final seven features with Caucasian actor Sidney Toler in the lead. Budget restraints forced these latter Chan features to reduce the quality of their productions, and more often than not, the films took place on limited sets and without the scope or atmosphere of the earlier films. Plots were also reduced in running time and ambition; though hinged on a fun plot involving a plastic surgeon who creates new identities for crooks on the lam, Charlie Chan in the Wax Museum clocks in at barely over an hour, and suffers from bare sets and some highly predictable plot twists. Likewise, Dead Men Tell never leaves its claustrophobic pirate ship location, and Castle in the Desert, the final Chan film for Fox, is a confused hodgepodge of pulp thriller and horror tropes. Despite these drawbacks, there is still plenty of enjoyment to be had from Volume 5, especially in Charlie Chan in Rio, a remake of 1931's The Black Camel (with Warner Oland as Chan) that brims with an energy lacking from the later Toler efforts (there's also a nice bit involving Toler and Victor Sen Young's Number Two Son Jimmy conversing in Chinese with subtitles). Cinematography is also superlative in all of the Chan pictures included here, which lends a great deal of atmosphere to the modestly budgeted features. But the key pleasure of the Charlie Chan films is watching the detective unravel the case (no matter how convoluted) in his deliberate and patient manner, and Toler's performance (who would bring the character to Monogram and continue to play him until his death in 1947, after which Chan was essayed by Roland Winters) remains a distinct pleasure. Sen Young, though occasionally forced to mug furiously as Jimmy, lends likable support as Jimmy. There are also a host of Hollywood names on hand in supporting roles, including Lionel Atwill, Leo G. Carroll, Flash Gordon vets Jean Rogers and Frank Middleton, George Reeves, and even future Stooge Shemp Howard as a faux Hindu! Trailers for each film are included in the set, as well as still galleries and a 35-minute featurette which discusses, among other details, the impact of World War II on Fox's decision to bring the Chan series to a close. --Paul Gaita

Product Description

Disc 1: Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum Disc 2: Murder Over New York Disc 3: Dead Men Tell Disc 4: Charlie Chan in Rio Disc 5: Charlie Chan in Panama Disc 6: Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise Disc 7: Castle in the Desert Disc 8: Charlie Chan: The Fox Years

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
85 of 89 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Last of the Fox Chans are Surprisingly Good July 1, 2008
Sidney Toler's Chan was nothing like Warner Oland's characterization. But if the truth be told, it's Toler who comes through in the pages of Earl Derr Biggers novels, not Oland. I know because as an inveterate Oland fan, I tried very hard to see my hero in the six Chan novels but, alas, it was Toler who showed up in my mind's eyes and ears. As for the Toler films, it took Fox awhile to reposition the series to capture Toler's strengths. If Oland's Chan was like a stately mandarin, Toler's was more of a gritty, Sam Spade-like characterization.

By late 1940, Fox had tailored the scripts to suit Toler's personality and replaced the globe-trotting Oland formula ("At the Race Track," "At the Olympics," "On Broadway") with a compact film noir-like mystery format that was closer stylistically to "The Maltese Falcon" than to "Sherlock Holmes." And it worked too. "Wax Museum" and "Dead Men Tell" are especially adroit little films that benefit from the Fox studio's top technicians, set and costume designers, and superb supporting cast of contract players. Even a pre-Superman George Reeves shows up in "Dead Men Tell." The last of the Fox Chans, "Castle in the Desert" ended the series on a high level of quality. Presumably, the coming of World War II cut off the overseas markets and cut deeply into the potential revenues of these films, thus ending the series.

My favorite Toler is included in the set, CHARLIE CHAN IN PANAMA. The story is surprisingly timely with spies (today we call them terrorists) plotting to blow up the Panama Canal as the U.S. Naval Fleet is going through it. Charlie is working undercover in this one as a shopkeeper but considering how well known he was supposed to be, wouldn't he stand out like a sore thumb?
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Inscrutable July 20, 2008
You could almost feel the gentle trade winds of Hawaii during the 1920's in the first Charlie Chan novel by Earl Derr Biggers. Romantic and full of atmosphere, Biggers was always a great romance writer who simply incorporated mystery into his books to propel the story forward. His detective was wise and humorous, his take on American life sometimes a riot. Nothing got by Chan, however, and it was his intelligence which always brought justice in the end.

The adaptations to film lost some of the more romantic aspects of the early Chan novels, centering more on Chan as a detective, as to be expected. Enough humor and atmosphere remained, however, to propel Chan into the top tier of film detectives. Warner Oland's Chan was more refined and subtle, Sidney Toler's more outgoing and amused. Both were excellent. This set features Toler in the final "A" Charlie Chan mysteries before it became a "B" series which, while enjoyable at times, did not have the production values or stories to live up to previous pictures.

Fox liked to put Chan in exotic locations and settings. Charlie was in Panama, or on a cruise, or in Rio, one of his many offspring always in tow trying to play detective and generally getting in the way. By the time Castle in the Desert was filmed, it almost felt like a high end "B" rather than the classy mystery series it had been. All are great fun, however, some not having been available in studio approved fashion before. Three in particular from this set stand out.

Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum is a terrific entry and one of the most atmospheric of the original series. This one is centered around a live radio broadcast from the Museum of Crime, where notorious criminals have been immortalized in wax.
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62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Charlie Chan Collection Continues July 12, 2008
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With the release of Volume Five, the great Charlie Chan series from 20th Century Fox is at last complete. For those interested in watching these classic Sidney Toler as Charlie Chan films in their original order of release, "Charlie Chan In Panama" (1940) is a well crafted , tightly scripted visit to the world famous Panama Canal directed by series veteran Norman Foster. Much of the credit for keeping the suspense high in this cautionary tale regarding the welfare of our fleet goes to the superb supporting cast to include the lovely Jean Rogers along with the very reliable Lionel Atwill and Mary Nash. Another all star supporting cast highlights "Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise" (1940) featuring the great character actor Charles Middleton along with Chan series regulars Robert Lowery and Lionel Atwill with Cora Witherspoon and Leo G. Carroll. Considered something of a rewrite of creator Earl Derr Biggers orginal story,"Charlie Chan Carries On," Murder Cruise manages a few surprises of its own all within the confines of a not so luxurious liner. "Charlie Chan At The Wax Museum" is the third release for year (1940) with no sign of routine obvious - a tribute in part to the organized creativity of the studio system of film production. Here credit for the shooting style of longer takes goes to one time Chan film director Lynn Shores who's theatrical approach to story telling works very well as Wax Museum is essentially a story confined to a single locale. Starting with volume four's "City in Darkness", the Chan series uses as a continuing underlining theme, the growing danger of a world at war. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good quality and some of sid toler's best movies
Published 2 days ago by Marie Antionette
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Everything was AOK
Published 3 days ago by stanmoore1
5.0 out of 5 stars Charlie collection hits a jackpot!
Mr. Toler is a fantastic Charlie and his sidekicks make a great three way entertainment. I hope the DVDs never wear out and the price was right. All in all a topnotch collection.
Published 5 days ago by William Leistner
5.0 out of 5 stars Sidney Tolers' Charlie Chan
I love Charlie Chan, especially the Sidney Toler movies. He was just amazing, along with Birmingham Brown and his children. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Ralph J. Fitcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great classic mystery movies with the world's most well-known detectives in the first half of the 20th Century!
Published 19 days ago by Rodney D. Melsek
5.0 out of 5 stars Charlie Chan
I love Charlie Chan and this collection of his films is great. I am introducing my grandchildren ages 9-14 to this genre of films and they are much as I am. Although these. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Romantic
5.0 out of 5 stars I can enjoy Charlie Like years ago!
I was just a kid when I first saw Charlie Chan movies. Nowadays, I have time to relax and enjoy these movies like they were made yesterday. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mary Kaufman
5.0 out of 5 stars Charlie Chan vol 5
Charlie Chan is at it again. Murder over New York and at the Wax Museum keep my on the edge of my seat. I enjoy watching him over and over again.
Published 2 months ago by Cindy
5.0 out of 5 stars Charlie Chan
I love them. I've introduced Charlie Chan to many of my younger co-workers and they love them. The quality of the remastered DVD's were better then I expected. Read more
Published 2 months ago by N. B. Grant
5.0 out of 5 stars fan
I am a super fan of Charlie Chan, so I am replacing my VHS set with DVD's. Lots of fun!
Published 3 months ago by Angela Emmans
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Charlie Chan movies
Actually what the reviewer said, they are the "last of the Fox Chans" which is yiddish for the last ones made by 20th Century Fox. The movies you name were released by the now defunct Monogram Pictures. The first 6 Monograms were released as "The Chanthology" by MGM Video... Read More
Oct 24, 2009 by Eric Pregosin |  See all 2 posts
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