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PHOTOGRAPHY

CHARLIE CHAN VOLUME 5
DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 7 films on four discs, Era Of Chan featurette, still and advertising galleries, original theatrical trailers
VIDEO: 1.33:1 (Full Frame)
AUDIO: English Mono
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

STUDIO: 20th Century Fox
RELEASE DATE: 9-16-2008

DISC 1-
CHARLIE CHAN'S MURDER CRUISE:
When a trusted colleague requests assistance in investigating a murder on a high-society pleasure cruise, unflappable sleuth Charlie Chan is all too happy to help. But when his friend also turns up dead, Chan must take matters into his own hands!
CHARLIE CHAN IN PANAMA:
Ingenious crime solver Charlie Chan is busily working undercover in the volatile wartime region of Panama- rife with spies and conspirators when he uncovers a sinister plot to blow up the Panama Canal and destroy the U.S. naval fleet!

DISC 2-
MURDER OVER NEW YORK:
While Charlie Chan and his Number Two Son, Jimmy, are on vacation in the Big Apple, they find themselves in the middle of a murder investigation. As more bodies fall, Chan must find a way to bring the evildoers to justice before more lives are lost!
CHARLIE CHAN IN THE WAX MUSEUM:
When a convicted murderer, brought to justice by Charlie Chan himself, escapes into the night, the resourceful Chan tracks the killer to a mysterious Wax Museum, whose proprietor specializes in giving new faces to those who want to escape their past.

DISC 3-
DEAD MEN TELL:
In this seafaring thrill-ride that will be relished by Chan fans (Variety), the unflappable sleuth teams up with Number Two Son, Jimmy, to solve a mystery that takes place aboard a ship bound for a treasure hunt.
CHARLIE CHAN IN RIO:
Adventure and intrigue travel south of the Equator, as the incomparable international sleuth Charlie Chan--with a little help from Number Two Son, Jimmy Chan-- must crack the mystery of a beautiful nightclub singer who turns up dead after announcing her plans to elope with a wealthy American playboy.

DISC 4-
CASTLE IN THE DESERT:
Wise and inscrutable Charlie Chan is summoned to a mysterious, secluded castle deep in California's Mojave Desert, to investigate a brutal murder that may have been committed by a descendant of the infamous Borgia family.

ANALYSIS: Favorite films of this set have to be CHARLIE CHAN IN PANAMA , MURDER OVER NEW YORK, and CHARLIE CHAN IN THE WAX MUSEUM. CHARLIE CHAN'S MURDER CRUISE is a better version of CHARLIE CHAN CARRIES ON. The fifth and final volume of the 20th Century Fox Charlie Chan series is a mix of films reflecting the war climate and remakes (which happen to be faster paced than the films they remade). World War 2 is very involved in the plots of MURDER OVER NEW YORK (sabotaged bombers) and CHARLIE CHAN IN PANAMA (plot to blow up the Panama Canal). One location for most of the film amps up the suspense for DEAD MEN TELL and CHARLIE CHAN IN THE WAX MUSEUM (which feels very much like an old style horror film). Sidney Toler make s a great Chan and his Chans are definitely tighter and more action driven than any of the Warner Oland Chans. Jimmy makes for good comic relief while sometimes saving Charlie from certain death. With each film just being around an hour makes for a very well written scripts that get to the point while developing the story and characters to forward the plots. Many mystery films aren't as good as these old Charlie Chan mysteries.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
Each movie has their original two minute theatrical trailers. CHARLIE CHAN IN THE WAX MUSEUM is missing the sound from the first 26 seconds of the trailer.

Each film also has 3 to 5 still galleries that include ADVERTISING, BEHIND-THE-SCENES, PORTRAITS, PRODUCTION, and SET photos.

On DISC 4 is THE ERA OF CHAN, a 30 minute documentary celebrating the legacy of the Chan series at Fox. Focusing on the final seven films and the talents behind them, this piece gives an overview of the series success and how the Chan character rose to the status of icon, influencing many screen detectives to come. Learn how the changes at Fox and the upcoming war affected the Chan series. It was interesting to find out CHARLIE CHAN IN PANAMA started out as a Mr. Moto film.

FINAL ANALYSIS: The final seven films of the 20th Century Fox Charlie Chan have some of the best of the series. Hopefully, Fox will team up with MGM to re-release the Monogram Charlie Chan films with great featurettes like the five Fox volumes have.

this DVD review is (c)9-22-2008 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com  

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