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PHOTOGRAPHY

CHARLIE CHAN Volume 3
DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 4 disc set (5 films), 2 audio commentaries, 4 restoration comparisons, 5 other featurettes, 4 still galleries, advertising gallery
THE BLACK CAMEL- 71 minutes
CHARLIE CHAN'S SECRET- 72 minutes
CHARLIE CHAN ON BROADWAY- 68 minutes
CHARLIE CHAN AT MONTE CARLO- 72 minutes
BEHIND THAT CURATIN- 91 minutes

VIDEO: 1.33:1 (Full Frame)
AUDIO: English Mono
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: 8-14-2007

THE BLACK CAMEL (1931)- It is the earliest surviving film with Warner Oland as Charlie Chan since CHARLIE CHAN CARRIES ON (the first in the series is considered to be lost). Bela Lugosi plays a Hollywood psychic in this one as Charlie investigates teh death of a Hollywood starlet whose murder may be connected to the death of another Hollywood actor three years prior. Oland and Lugosi play great off each other. Definitely one of the better films in the Chan series.

CHARLIE CHAN'S SECRET (1936)- The film carries on the fake psychic trend from THE BLACK CAMEL as the heir to a fmaily fortune is found murdered after he has been reported missing at sea. Charlie finds the case mixed in with many skeletons. A few good twists even though I knew one of the later ones in the film.

CHARLIE CHAN ON BROADWAY (1937)- It is the weakest one of teh four Oland "Chans" in this set. A nightclub signer (who was the boyfriend of a gangster) returns to New York City after a year only to be murdered. Who would kill for her diary of secrets about the rackets? Could it be the newspaper publisher Murdoch (oddly enough Fox is currently owned by a newspaper published named Murdoch) or is it someone else like a gangster?


CHARLIE CHAN AT MONTE CARLO (1937)- Charlie Chan and his number one son Lee are on their way to an art exhibit in Paris (where Lee has a painting) only to be cuaght up in a few murders and the theft of $1 million in bonds in Monte Carlo. It is the last film Oland completed as Charlie Chan. Charlie Chan At The ringside would only be filmed for a week before becoming MR. MOTO'S GAMBIT.

BEHIND THAT CURATIN (1929)- Charlie Chan in his first Fox film as a minor character.

Warner Oland was a fine actor to play Charlie Chan. he made the role his own despite Sydney Toler's take on Chan. The films have been put onto DVD using the best elements that 20th Century Fox Home Video had to work with. Each film on volume 3 mentions the fact about using the best surviving elements at the start of each of the four Chans in volume 3.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
Each disc has a still glallery and every film (except BEHIND THAT CURTAIN) has a restoration comprison featurette). THE BLACK CAMEL and CHARLIE CHAN'S SECRET feature audio commentaries by film critic Ken Hawke (author of Charlie Chan At The Movies) and film historian John Cork (producer of the DVD special features). The commentaries provide loads of info about the films and the people who did them (cast and crew). Below are the list of additional extras per disc.

THE BLACK CAMEL-
CHARLIE CHAN'S CHANCE- recreation of a lost Charlie Chan film using stills and a new audio track.

CHARLIE CHAN'S SECRET(two featurettes)-
CHARLIE CHAN AND THE RISE OF THE MODERN DETECTIVE:  the history of detective fiction, talk about Charlie Chan from experts.

DR. HENRY LEE: THE MODERN DAY CHARLIE CHAN: Dr. Henry Lee talks about he became involved iN Forensic Science and his career.

CHARLIE CHAN ON BROADWAY (two featurettes)-
THE WORLD OF CHARLIE CHAN- a look at the places the films were located at.
CHANOGRAMS: THE APHORISMS OF CHARLIE CHAN: the wise east sayings of Charlie Chan in the films.

CHARLIE CHAN AT MONTE CARLO (one featurette)-
CHARLIE CHAN IS MISSING: THE LAST DAYS OF WARNER OLAND:
The featurette chronicles the life and last days of Warner Oland. It is amzing to learn of the job he did before becoming an actor.

FINAL ANALYSIS: The third CHARLIE CHAN Collection doesn't disappoint as it features even more extras than the previous volumes. Also the Chan films hold up still after all of these decades. Now the wait is on for volume 4.

RELATED DVD Reviews-

CHARLIE CHAN Volume 1:
http://enterline2.tripod.com/charliechan_vol1.html  
CHARLIE CHAN Volume 2:
http://enterline2.tripod.com/charliechan_vol2.html  

MR. MOTO Volume 1: http://enterline2.tripod.com/mr_moto__vol1.html  
MR. MOTO Volume 2-
http://enterline2.tripod.com/mr_moto_vol2.html  

this DVD review is (c)8-29-2007 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com look for additional content and news at http://enterline-media.tripod.com  and http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com