So you'd like to...

Watch the old Charlie Chan films?

A guide by Patrick W. Crabtree "The Old Grottomaster" (Lucasville, OH USA)
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   

Products sampled from this guide:
The Charlie Chan films, produced by Fox Studios, chiefly starred two actors as the famous Chinese detective over the many years in which they were made: Warner Oland and Sidney Toler (the latter following Oland's death.) I have no particular preference for one or the other, although a few of these films were much better than others. Still, I like them all.

Many of the DVD format films can only be purchased by buying the various sets. The prices aren't hateful but I wish they could all be obtained individually. One of the early collections is Charlie Chan Collection, Vol. 1 (Charlie Chan in London / Charlie Chan in Paris / Charlie Chan in Egypt / Charlie Chan in Shanghai / Eran Trece). These are all Oland films and are available individually.

Charlie Chan In London (Region One USA DVD) (can be purchased individually) -- Here Charlie investigates a murder case to free a condemned man who is wrongly convicted -- time is working against him as the man is about to be executed. The best aspects of the film include the Old English manor house and the traditional aristocratic fox hunt.

Charlie Chan In Egypt (can be purchased individually)

Charlie Chan In Paris (Region One USA DVD) (can be purchased individually)

Charlie Chan In Shanghai (can be purchased individually)


Charlie Chan Collection, Vol. 2 (Charlie Chan at the Circus / Charlie Chan at the Olympics / Charlie Chan at the Opera / Charlie Chan at the Race Track) is probably my least favorite collection of the Oland films -- still they are well worth watching. The set (DVDs available individually) includes:

Charlie Chan At The Circus

Charlie Chan At The Olympics

Charlie Chan At The Opera

Charlie Chan At The Race Track


Charlie Chan Collection, Volume 3 (Charlie Chan's Secret / Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo / Charlie Chan on Broadway / The Black Camel) is a strong set and one which I would recommend acquiring first if you are unfamiliar with these films. My personal favorite of the four movies is Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo. The remaining three include:

Charlie Chan's Secret [VHS] (available on DVD only in the set)

Charlie Chan on Broadway

"The Black Camel" (only available by buying the set)


Charlie Chan Collection, Vol. 4 (Charlie Chan in Honolulu / Charlie Chan in Reno / Charlie Chan at Treasure Island / City in Darkness) is marvelous Sidney Toler collection but these films are only available on DVD by purchasing the set. "Charlie Chan in Reno" is a real hoot and one of my all-time favorite Chan films. "City in Darkness" is quite an unusual film and almost of a different genre with strong political connotations -- produced in 1939, it was made to expose Hitler's heinous plan for Europe and how the English were being fooled. The other two movies included are:

"Charlie Chan in Honolulu"

"Charlie Chan at Treasure Island"


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) is my personal favorite collection of seven terrific Chan films -- these films can only be obtained in DVD format by buying the set. My Number One favorite Chan film, Charlie Chan: Castle in the Desert [VHS], is in here and it's a dandy -- the print is excellent, crystal clear. Charlie Chan: At the Wax Museum [VHS] is almost equally great. The remaining five movies are well-above average:

Charlie Chan: Murder Over New York [VHS]

"Dead Men Tell"

Charlie Chan in Rio [VHS]

"Charlie Chan in Panama"

"Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise"


My second-favorite Chan film (Toler) is The Jade Mask. It transpires mostly in an old mansion where a noxious old scientist has discovered a process to make wood as hard as steel and the U.S. Government wants the formula -- and so do many foreign agents! The scientist is murdered and Charlie has to unmask the killer.

Some of the other individual Chan films include:

Charlie Chan in Meeting at Midnight

The Shanghai Cobra

Charlie Chan in the Secret Service

Charlie Chan in The Scarlet Clue

Charlie Chan in The Chinese Cat

Just recently Turner Classic Movies [TCM] has released this set: TCM Spotlight: Charlie Chan Collection (Dark Alibi / Dangerous Money / The Trap / The Chinese Ring). Unfortunately I haven't viewed it yet but I'll be doing so very soon! I'll also be providing more information on each of these films (stars, etc.) over the next couple of weeks.

Products mentioned include:
1.  Charlie Chan Collection, Vol. 1 (Charlie Chan in London / Charlie Chan in Paris / Charlie Chan in Egypt / Charlie Chan in Shanghai / Eran Trece) [Multiple Formats] [Box set] [Color] [Dolby] [Full Screen] [NTSC]  DVD ~ Warner Oland
$14.88 Used & New from: $10.95
4.6 out of 5 stars   (158)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
2.  Charlie Chan In London (Region One USA DVD) [NTSC] [Black & White] [Closed-captioned]  DVD ~ Warner Oland
$18.91 Used & New from: $2.90
4.8 out of 5 stars   (5)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
3.  Charlie Chan In Egypt [NTSC] [Black & White] [Closed-captioned]  DVD ~ Warner Oland
$14.99 Used & New from: $5.25
4.2 out of 5 stars   (10)
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4.  Charlie Chan In Paris (Region One USA DVD) 
$19.01 Used & New from: $1.03
4.4 out of 5 stars   (5)
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5.  Charlie Chan In Shanghai [NTSC] [Black & White] [Closed-captioned]  DVD ~ Warner Oland
$11.00 Used & New from: $1.16
4.3 out of 5 stars   (9)
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6.  Charlie Chan Collection, Vol. 2 (Charlie Chan at the Circus / Charlie Chan at the Olympics / Charlie Chan at the Opera / Charlie Chan at the Race Track) [Multiple Formats] [Black & White] [Full Screen] [NTSC] [Subtitled]  DVD ~ Warner Oland
$33.94 Used & New from: $24.76
4.7 out of 5 stars   (101)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
7.  Charlie Chan At The Circus [NTSC] [Black & White] [Closed-captioned]  DVD ~ Warner Oland
$29.99 Used & New from: $5.88
4.4 out of 5 stars   (7)
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8.  Charlie Chan At The Olympics [NTSC] [Black & White] [Closed-captioned]  DVD ~ Warner Oland
$14.99 Used & New from: $5.87
4.8 out of 5 stars   (5)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
9.  Charlie Chan At The Opera [NTSC] [Black & White] [Closed-captioned]  DVD ~ Warner Oland
$22.99 Used & New from: $8.95
4.7 out of 5 stars   (6)
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10.  Charlie Chan At The Race Track [NTSC] [Black & White] [Closed-captioned]  DVD ~ Warner Oland
$9.99 Used & New from: $2.77
4.0 out of 5 stars   (5)
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11.  Charlie Chan Collection, Volume 3 (Charlie Chan's Secret / Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo / Charlie Chan on Broadway / The Black Camel) [Multiple Formats] [Box set] [Black & White] [Full Screen] [NTSC] [Restored] [Subtitled]  DVD ~ Warner Oland
$35.58 Used & New from: $25.99
4.8 out of 5 stars   (97) | 1 customer discussion
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12.  Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo [Black & White] [NTSC]  DVD ~ Keye Luke Warner Oland
$14.99 Used & New from: $2.51
4.2 out of 5 stars   (4)
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13.  Charlie Chan's Secret [VHS] [Black & White] [Closed-captioned] [NTSC]  VHS Warner Oland
$9.33 Used & New from: $1.19
3.9 out of 5 stars   (14)
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14.  Charlie Chan on Broadway  by Primary Contributor-Warner Oland
Used & New from: $3.99
4.8 out of 5 stars   (5)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
15.  Charlie Chan Collection, Vol. 4 (Charlie Chan in Honolulu / Charlie Chan in Reno / Charlie Chan at Treasure Island / City in Darkness) [Multiple Formats] [Box set] [Color] [Full Screen] [NTSC] [Restored] [Subtitled]  DVD ~ Sidney Toler
$34.50 Used & New from: $25.99
4.8 out of 5 stars   (122)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
16.  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) [Color] [NTSC] [Black & White] [Full Screen]  DVD ~ Sidney Toler
$33.28 Used & New from: $25.02
4.6 out of 5 stars   (170) | 1 customer discussion
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
17.  Charlie Chan: Castle in the Desert [VHS] [Black & White] [Closed-captioned] [HiFi Sound] [NTSC]  VHS Sidney Toler
$3.40 Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars   (13)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
18.  Charlie Chan: At the Wax Museum [VHS] [Black & White] [Closed-captioned] [HiFi Sound] [NTSC]  VHS Sidney Toler
Used & New from: $0.88
4.5 out of 5 stars   (12)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
19.  Charlie Chan: Murder Over New York [VHS] [Black & White] [Closed-captioned] [NTSC]  VHS Sidney Toler
$8.49 Used & New from: $1.50
4.2 out of 5 stars   (12)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
20.  Charlie Chan in Rio [VHS] [Black & White] [Closed-captioned] [HiFi Sound] [NTSC]  VHS Sidney Toler
$12.96 Used & New from: $0.01
4.0 out of 5 stars   (13)
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21.  The Jade Mask [Multiple Formats] [Black & White] [Full Screen] [Subtitled] [NTSC]  DVD ~ Sidney Toler
$18.00 Used & New from: $1.71
4.0 out of 5 stars   (25)
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22.  Charlie Chan in Meeting at Midnight [Black & White] [Full Screen] [Subtitled] [NTSC]  DVD ~ Sidney Toler
Used & New from: $8.99
4.4 out of 5 stars   (30)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
23.  The Shanghai Cobra [Black & White] [Full Screen] [NTSC] [Subtitled]  DVD ~ Sidney Toler
$24.99 Used & New from: $4.23
3.9 out of 5 stars   (23)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
24.  Charlie Chan in the Secret Service [Multiple Formats] [Black & White] [Full Screen] [NTSC] [Subtitled]  DVD ~ Sidney Toler
$11.65 Used & New from: $0.17
4.1 out of 5 stars   (71)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
25.  Charlie Chan in The Scarlet Clue [Black & White] [Full Screen] [Subtitled] [NTSC]  DVD ~ Sidney Toler
Used & New from: $5.33
3.8 out of 5 stars   (22)
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
26.  Charlie Chan in The Chinese Cat [Black & White] [Full Screen] [Subtitled] [NTSC]  DVD ~ Sidney Toler
$9.09 Used & New from: $1.60
3.4 out of 5 stars   (18)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist
27.  TCM Spotlight: Charlie Chan Collection (Dark Alibi / Dangerous Money / The Trap / The Chinese Ring) [Multiple Formats] [Box set] [Black & White] [NTSC] [Subtitled]  DVD ~ Sidney Toler
$12.73 Used & New from: $12.52
4.4 out of 5 stars   (128)
Add to cart  Add to wishlist

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Author

Patrick W. Crabtree "The Old Grottomaster" (Lucasville, OH USA)
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Qualifications: I watch these films over and over
Last updated: 5/26/10
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