AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Charlie Chan in London
Director: Eugene Forde (Dir)
Release Date:   12 Sep 1934
Production Date:   9 Jul--early Aug 1934
Duration (in mins):   77-79
Duration (in feet):   7,026
Duration (in reels):   8
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Cast:   Warner Oland (Inspector Charlie Chan)  
    Drue Leyton (Pamela Gray)  
    Raymond Milland (Neil Howard)  
    Mona Barrie (Lady Mary Bristol)  
    Alan Mowbray (Geoffrey Richmond)  
    Murray Kinnell (Phillips)  
    Douglas Walton (Hugh Gray)  
    Walter Johnson (Jerry Garton)  
    E. E. Clive (Detective Sergeant Thacker)  
    George Barraud (Major Jardine)  
    Madge Bellamy (Mrs. Fothergill)  
    David Torrence (Home Secretary)  
    John Rogers (Lake)  
    Paul England (Bunny Fothergill)  
    Elsa Buchanan (Alice Rooney)  
    Perry Ivins (Kemp)  
    Claude King (Commandant)  
    Reginald Sheffield (Commander)  
    Helena Grant (Secretary)  
    Montague Shaw (Doctor)  
    Phillis Coghlan (Nurse)  
    Margaret Mann (Housemaid)  
    Carlie Taylor (Guest)  
    Doris Stone (Guest)  
    Arthur Clayton (Warden)  

Summary: Pamela Gray goes with Geoffrey Richmond to appeal to the Home Secretary to intervene and stop the planned hanging of her brother Paul, Richmond's former hunt secretary, in three days for the murder of Captain Hamilton of the Royal Air Force, who had been a guest at Richmond's country home at Retfordshire. After the Home Secretary refuses to help, Kemp, his private secretary, instructs Pamela and her fiancĂ©, Neil Howard, to seek the help of Inspector Charlie Chan of the Honolulu police department, who has captured in Honolulu and brought back to London a wanted British criminal. When Neil, who is Paul's barrister, tells Chan that he believes that Paul is guilty, Pamela overhears the conversation and breaks their engagement. Chan, who wants to help, follows her to Retfordshire, where guests are gathered for a hunt. After Lake, the stud groom who, Chan suspects, knows more than he admits, is found dead with a suicide note, Chan, while investigating in the study, is almost killed by a missile from an air-blown pistol. The next day, during the hunt, Chan goes to the Farmwell Aerodrome, where he learns that Hamilton, an inventor, had developed a scheme for silencing war planes just before he died. Returning to the hunt, Chan learns that Richmond's fiancĂ©e, Lady Mary Bristol, who had important evidence to tell Chan, had a near-fatal riding accident because pepper was put on her horse's eyes. After Chan tells the suspected guests that the murderer's fingerprints will be on the missing plans, he tricks Richmond into firing at him with a gun filled with blanks as Chan seemingly finds the papers. Richmond is revealed to be a spy whom military intelligence has been following for years. Sometime later, Paul, released, has dinner with Pamela and Neil, who now have been reunited, and Chan. 

Production Company: Fox Film Corp.  
Distribution Company: Fox Film Corp.  
Director: Eugene Forde (Dir)
  Ed O'Fearna (Asst dir)
Producer: John Stone (Prod)
Writer: Philip MacDonald (Orig scr)
  Stuart Anthony (Contr to scr const and dial)
  Lester Cole (Contr to scr const and dial)
Photography: L. W. O'Connell (Photog)
  John Schmitz (Asst cam)
  Robert Surtees (Asst cam)
Art Direction: Duncan Cramer (Settings)
Costumes: Royer (Gowns)
Music: Samuel Kaylin (Mus dir)
Sound: E. Clayton Ward (Sd)
Stand In: Joe Flores (Stunts)
  Clint Sharp (Stunts)
  Walter Nobles (Stunts)
  Opal Ernie (Stunts)
  Ann Doran (Stand in)
  Alex Chivra (Stand in)
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
Fox Film Corp. 14/9/1934 dd/mm/yyyy LP4951

PCA NO: 171
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Noiseless Recording

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Detective
 
Subjects (Major): Americans in foreign countries
  Chinese Americans
  Detectives
  England
  False arrests
  Murder
  Spies
 
Subjects (Minor): Brothers and sisters
  Cruelty to animals
  Engagements
  Horses
  Hunting
  Inventions
  Lawyers
  Riding accidents
  Ruses
  Sabotage
  Secretaries

Note: This was the first film of the "Charlie Chan" series that was not based on a particular novel by Chan's creator, Earl Derr Biggers. NYT commented that this film, written by Philip MacDonald, a noted detective novelist himself, "maintains the Chan tradition." For information concerning the series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry above for Charlie Chan Carries On

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   9 Jul 34   p. 5.
Film Daily   13 Sep 34   p. 6.
Harrison's Reports   15 Sep 34   p. 146.
HF   4 Aug 34   p. 8.
International Photographer   Aug 34   p. 17.
Motion Picture Daily   Sep 34   p. 11.
Motion Picture Herald   Sep 34   p. 42.
New York Times   Sep 34   p. 26.
Variety   18 Sep 34   p. 11.

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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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