AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Charlie Chan at the Olympics
Director: H. Bruce Humberstone (Dir)
Release Date:   21 May 1937
Production Date:   late Jan--mid-Feb 1937
Duration (in mins):   71
Duration (in feet):   6,400
Duration (in reels):   7
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Cast:   Warner Oland (Charlie Chan)  
    Katherine de Mille (Yvonne Roland)  
    Pauline Moore (Betty Adams)  
    Allan Lane (Richard Masters)  
    Keye Luke (Lee Chan)  
    C. Henry Gordon (Arthur Hughes)  
    John Eldredge (Cartwright)  
    Layne Tom Jr. (Charlie Chan, Jr.)  
    Jonathan Hale (Hopkins)  
    Morgan Wallace (Honorable Charles Zaraka)  
    Fredrik Vogeding (Captain Strasser)  
    Andrew Tombes (Police Chief Scott)  
    Howard Hickman (Dr. Burton)  
    Selmer Jackson (Wright)  
    Edward Keane (Webster)  
    Arno Frey (Carlos)  
    Caroline "Spike" Rankin (Landlady)  
    O. G. "Dutch" Hendrian (Miller)  
    Billy Wayne (Steward)  
    Emmett Vogan (Ship's officer)  
    George Chandler (Radio operator)  
    Al Kikume (Radio operator)  
    William von Brincken (Guard)  
    Brooks Benedict (Henchman)  
    Ferdinand Schumann-Heink (Officer on Hindenburg)  
    Hans Fuerberg (Radio cop)  
    John Peters (Radio cop)  
    Minerva Urecal (Maid)  
    Constant Franke (Attendant)  
    Paul W. Panzer (Vendor)  
    Virgil B. Nover (Sign language expert)  
    Perry E. Seeley (Sign language expert)  
    Tom Klune (Page boy)  
    Ben Hendricks (Coast Guard officer)  
    Don Brody (News commentator)  
    Philip Morris (Cop)  
    Lee Shumway (Cop)  
    Stanley Blystone (Cop)  
    Glen Cavender (German policeman)  
    Walter Bonn (German policeman)  
    David Horsley (Edwards)  
    Frank Bruno (Footman)  
    Theresa Harris (Olympic athlete)  
    Tony Merlo    
    Louis Natheaux    
    Bill Beggs    

Summary: After a pilot testing a device by which his plane is guided by remote control is hijacked, Charlie Chan of the Honolulu police comes on the case. Chan finds the plane with the device, which could be sold for millions to a foreign power, gone and the pilot dead. Later, he also locates the body of the murderer, Miller. Chan, Hopkins, the airplane owner, and Cartwright, the inventor of the device, take the dirigible Hindenburg to Berlin to investigate three people traveling there by ocean liner: Dick Masters, an Olympic pole-vaulter and aviator, who did not pilot the plane the day of its disappearance because of an injured shoulder; Yvonne Roland, who visited Miller's room; and Arthur Hughes, an arms dealer, who wanted to buy the device. In Berlin, Chan finds the device hidden in a box in the luggage of Masters' girl friend Betty Adams. He substitutes a book and returns the box to Hopkins. Cartwright tells Chan that Hughes accused Hopkins of double-crossing him and threatened to expose Hopkins' plan to sell the device to a foreign government, and that Hopkins escaped with the box. Masters is now suspected because the box was found in Betty's room and the fact that he was on the boat with Roland. Roland, however, takes the box to a foreign diplomat, the Honorable Charles Zaraka, who discovers the book instead of the device. After Hughes learns of this, Chan's son Lee, an Olympic swimmer, is kidnapped. Following instructions sent from the kidnapper, Chan brings the device, which he has had removed and replaced with a transmitter, to an agreed upon location. He is then taken to Zaraka's estate, where Hopkins identifies the device. Hughes arrives with his thugs and fights Zaraka's henchmen for the device before he discovers that it is a phony. After the police arrive and Hopkins is shot, Chan reveals that Cartwright shot him, and that earlier Cartwright murdered Miller and made it appear that Hopkins stole the device. Hopkins recovers and Lee wins the hundred meter race. 

Production Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Distribution Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Director: H. Bruce Humberstone (Dir)
  Jasper Blystone (Asst dir)
Producer: John Stone (Assoc prod)
Writer: Robert Ellis (Scr)
  Helen Logan (Scr)
  Paul Burger (Orig story)
Photography: Daniel B. Clark (Photog)
Art Direction: Albert Hogsett (Art dir)
  Chester Gore (Art dir assoc)
Film Editor: Fred Allen (Film ed)
Costumes: Herschel (Cost)
Music: Samuel Kaylin (Mus dir)
Sound: E. Clayton Ward (Sd)
  Harry M. Leonard (Sd)
Country: United States
Series: Charlie Chan

Source Text: Based on the character "Charlie Chan" created by Earl Derr Biggers.
Authors: Earl Derr Biggers

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. 21/5/1937 dd/mm/yyyy LP7170

PCA NO: 3090
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Detective
 
Subjects (Major): Chinese Americans
  Deception
  Detectives
  False accusations
  Fathers and sons
  Inventions
  Olympic Games
 
Subjects (Minor): Airplanes
  Berlin (Germany)
  Diplomats
  Fights
  Hawaii
  Hijackers
  Hindenburg (Airship)
  Inventors
  Munitions dealers
  Murder
  Ocean liners
  Police
  Swimmers

Note: This film contained newsreel footage of the dirigible Hindenburg , which exploded before the release of the film, and events in the Olympic Games of 1936, including a relay race showing American runner Jesse Owens. This film introduced Layne Tom, Jr. as Charlie Chan's youngest son. John Carradine is listed as a cast member in HR production charts, but his participation in the final film has not been confirmed. For information concerning the series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry below for Charlie Chan Carries On

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   10 Apr 1937.   
Daily Variety   24 Mar 37   p. 3.
Film Daily   29 Mar 37   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Jan 37   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Feb 37   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   24 Mar 37   p. 4.
Motion Picture Daily   25 Mar 37   p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald   6 Mar 37   p. 49.
New York Times   24 Mar 37   p. 23.
Variety   26 May 37   p. 14.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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