Monday, May 14, 2007

Everything I Consume: Charlie Chan in London

Sometimes, I pass the time wondering which fictional detective I'd want to clear me of murder if it ever came to that. I'm down to a final four of Miss Marple, Columbo, Perry Mason and Charlie Chan.

I love Charlie Chan. I mean, I can see how some people might find a Swede spouting pidgen English while pretending to be Chinese offensive but I love the guy. I don't think he's ever in a fist fight or uses a gun but he seems absolutely fearless. He's classy but sarcastic and also a good dad. Of course, he's a brilliant detective. I kind of think I'm the Charlie Chan of of direct mail production artists.

For Christmas last year my mother-in-law got me Volumes 1 & 2 of the new Fox DVD box set. I told her I'd rather just get Vol. 2 -- the ones with Keye Luke as Number 1 Son -- but she insisted I had to start at the beginning.

The plot of Charlie Chan in London is the hardy perennial of an English country house where one of the guests has committed murder most foul. There's lots of interviews, eavesdropping and sneaking around in the dark. I enjoyed it even if it took me three viewings to see the entire 79 minutes of the movie. It's tough to find movie time with two kids and a wife who thinks Charlie Chan movies "all suck".

Charlie Chan in London was released in 1934 and starts Warner Oland. One of the supporting actors, the male romantic lead actually, is Ray Milland who we pretend is best known for The Lost Weekend but is really most famous for The Thing With Two Heads. He also starred in X, The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (with the underrated Don Rickles) and Panic in Year Zero (with Frankie Avalon who I feel who gets the proper amount of recognition).

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