Charlie Chan in Shanghai
Fox Film Corporation; Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Distributed: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, October 11, 1935
Production: July 11 to August 3, 1935
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, October 11, 1935; LP6053
Opened: Roxy, New York, N.Y., the week of October 11,
Sound: Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Film: Black and white
Length: 7 reels, 6,300 feet
time: 70 minutes
Production Code Administration Certificate Number: 1255
Source: Based on the character "Charlie Chan"
created by Earl Derr Biggers
Associate Producer: John Stone
Director: James Tinling
Director: Aaron Rosenberg (not credited)
Original Story and Screenplay: Edward T. Lowe and Gerard Fairlie
Art Direction: Duncan Cramer and Lewis Creber
Film Editor: Nick De Maggio
Gowns: Alberto Luza
Director: Samuel Kaylin
Sound: Albert Protzman
Stunts: Chic Collins, Robert Rose, and Jack Stoney (none credited)
Warner Oland: Charlie Chan
Irene Hervey: Diana Woodland
Russell Hicks: James Andrews
Keye Luke: Lee Chan
Halliwell Hobbes: Chief of Police [Commissioner of
Police; Colonel Watkins]
Frederick Vogeding: Burke [Ivan Marloff]
Neil Fitzgerald: Dakin
Max Wagner: Taxi Driver
David Torrence: Sir Stanley Woodland (not credited)
Harry Strang: Chauffeur (not credited)
Pat O'Malley: Beldon (not credited)
James B. Leong: Shanghai Police Telephone Operator (not credited)
Crook on Boat (not credited)
Torben Meyer: French Diplomat (not credited)
Guy Usher: Shanghai Chamber of Commerce
President (not credited)
Moy Ming: Mr. Sun Wong (not credited)
Willie Wong: Reporter (not credited)
Pat Somerset: Reporter (not credited)
Phil Tead: Reporter (not credited)
Jimmy Philips: Reporter (not credited)
Luke Chan: Reporter (not credited)
Jack Chefe: Reporter (not credited)
Collin Kenny: Reporter (not credited)
Beal Wong: Reporter (not credited)
Eddie Lee: Servant (not credited)
Jehim Wong: Ricksha
Boy (not credited)
Gladden James: Forrest (not credited)
William Kum: Porter (not credited)
Sam Tong: Waiter (not
Walter Wong: Waiter (not credited)
Ed Hart: G-Man (not credited)
Russel Hopton: "G" Man (not credited)
Joan Woodbury: Exotic Dancer (not credited)
Frank Darien: Tourist (not credited)
Harrison Greene: Tourist (not credited)
Lynn Bari: Second
Hotel Switchboard Operator (not credited)
Charles Haefeli: Crook on Boat (not credited)
Bo Ling: Lee Chan's Girlfriend (not credited)
Regina Rambeau (not credited)
Before Charlie Chan leaves his boat upon arriving in Shanghai for his first visit in years,
supposedly a vacation, a man stuffs a note in his pocket warning him not to leave the ship. At the docks, Chan is greeted
by Philip Nash, Sir Stanley Woodland's secretary, and by Diana Woodland, Sir Stanley's niece. He is surprised by his
son Lee, who was sent by his firm to look into the trade situation there.
At a banquet that evening that is being
given in Chan's honor, Sir Stanley opens a box that supposedly contains a special scroll for the detective. Suddenly,
Sir Stanley is shot dead by a gun that had been rigged inside of the box. The box, whose intended victim was Charlie
Chan, had been in Nash's possession all day, and when questioned about this, he stated that he had had no reason to check
the box's contents.
Later that night, a man peers into the window of Chan's hotel room, and, with a silencer on his
gun, shoots the figure in Chan's bed and flees. Lee, thinking that his Pop has been shot, runs into the room.
Moments later, Charlie Chan calmly walks into the room. He shows an amazed and relieved Lee how he had placed pillows
under the covers to give the appearance of his sleeping form.
The next day, when Chan calls for room service, the
switchboard operator telephones Ivan Marloff letting him hear for himself that the detective is still alive. Chan then
visits Diana, and after giving his condolences, learns that during the previous evening, someone had broken into her father's
library and had searched through his papers.
Back at the hotel, Chan is met by a man identifying himself as the chauffeur
of Colonel Watkins, the chief of police. He hands the detective a note instructing Chan to accompany the chauffeur.
After Chan leaves, Lee receives a telephone call from Colonel Watkins who says that he has not sent for Chan. Realizing
the ruse, Lee tries to follow his father, but he is subdued by the driver of his taxi and is taken to the same house where
Chan is being interrogated by Marloff, who is hidden in darkness. Chan and Lee trick the gang into believing that the
police have followed them to the house. Through quick thinking and Lee's vigorous fisticuffs, the father and son manage
Later, Chan visits James Andrews, a special agent from Washington, D.C., and they discuss Sir Stanley,
who was a secret agent of the British government, and who had been cooperating with the opium committee of the League of Nations
as well as with officials of the Chinese government to round up a gang of opium smugglers who operate out of Shanghai. While
the two talk, Nash, now Andrews' secretary, searches through his belongings in another room.
As Chan and Andrews continue
their conversation, Chan glances at a mirror and notices a gun pointing through the door. Chan ducks just as the gun
is fired and slams the door shut, thus trapping the weapon in the doorjamb. Nash's thumbprint is found on the gun, and he is arrested.
Before he leaves, Chan secures a supposedly
innocuous letter from Sir Stanley to Andrews that had been marked "important." Heating the letter back at his hotel
room, Chan discovers a hidden message that states that Sir Stanley had made an important discovery concerning Ivan Marloff.
Chan thinks it odd and suspicious that earlier Andrews did not feel that the letter held any real importance. However,
Andrews arrives at Chan's room and, holding a cigarette lighter under the letter, reads the secret message.
goes with Andrews to search the house where he and Lee had been held. While there, Chan discovers a ink stamp pad in
the fireplace. They then go to police headquarters where Diana arrives to see Nash. While she visits with him,
she slips him a gun and they both escape.
Returning to his room, Chan finds that Lee has trailed the taxi driver who
had earlier abducted him to a waterfront bar called the Verailles Café. Andrews calls Chan, stating that he has captured
a member of the gang and has cracked the case. When Chan arrives at Andrews' room, he sees Andrews beat a confession
out of chauffeur that Marloff is at the Versailles Café. Andrews and Chan leave for the café, where, meanwhile, the
fugitive Nash asks Marloff to put him on a boat for America. Calling Nash's escape from jail a trick that was arranged
by Charlie Chan, Marloff hits Nash, knocking him out, and tells his men to drop him overboard once the ship is out at sea.
Upstairs, Chan and Andrews follow the taxi driver
into a room where the gang waits, hidden below a trap door. Searching through some boxes,
Chan discovers that the wine bottles contain opium. Finding the trap door, Andrews suggests that Chan go below and signal
authorities to run the boat to the government dock. Chan, feigning a faulty flashlight,
delays his descent until the police, whom Lee has called, arrive and capture the gang after a shootout.
that it was Andrews' valet who had attempted to shoot Chan earlier and that Nash's thumbprint was put on the gun with a stamp
pad because the gang had felt that he knew too much about Sir Stanley's investigation. Andrews offers to remove the
gang members to the government's boat, but Chan pulls a gun and accuses him of being the real leader of the gang. Nash
had discovered through Sir Stanley's correspondence that the real Andrews neither smoked nor drank, yet the man posing as
Andrews had earlier accepted Chan's offer of scotch and soda and cigarettes. "You pretend to be G-man," says the detective,
"now turn out to be N.G.-man."
Lee arrives with a wire photo of Andrews, who was killed three weeks earlier in San
Francisco. Chan then sends Nash to comfort Diana. Although he was earlier annoyed that his son was always tying up the
telephone talking with a girl, Chan allows his son one phone call to his female friend, to which Lee, imitating his father,
says, "Thank you so much."
NOTE: Although the character played
by Frederik Vogeding is listed as "Burke" in the onscreen credits, he is called "Ivan Marloff" throughout the dialog of the
Adapted from: AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE CATALOG - Within Our Gates: Ethnicity in American
Feature Films, 1911-1960
CHARLIE CHAN'S APHORISMS:
Holiday mood like fickle girl - privileged to change mind.
Old excuse, like ancient
billy goat, has whiskers.
Two ears for every tongue.
Motive, like end of string, tied in many knots; end may be in sight, but hard to unravel.
Only one enemy necessary to commit murder.
Talk cannot cook rice.
Silence best answer when uncertain.
Distance no hindrance to fond thoughts.
Insignificant man has never improved on nature's tonic.
like good liars, distort facts.
Cold omelet, like fish out of sea, does not improve with age.
If answer known,
question seem unnecessary.
Hasty conclusion like hind leg of mule - kick backward.
Beauty of poppy conceal
sting of death.
Spider does not spin web for single fly.
Long journey always start with one short step.
of face cannot always see nose.
Shot in dark sometime find eye of bull.
Soothing drink, like summer shower,
bring grateful relief.
Smart rats know when to leave ship.
Only foolish dog pursue flying bird.
man does not run away.
Appearances sometimes deceiving, like wolf in lamb's clothing.
No one knows less about
servants than their master.
OTHER WORTHY STATEMENTS:
summers young, sixty winters old...brrr. (To ship's captain)
to renew acquaintance with land of honorable ancestors. (To reporters)
of making speech bring goose pimples. (To Philip Nash)
Joy equals astonishment of seeing offspring in Shanghai. (To Lee)
Instincts of detective father inherited by noble offspring. (To Lee)
Do not forget your prayers, may need them. (To Lee)
May your honorable ancestors rest in peace. (To Diana Woodland's
(Lee: "How do you do it, Pop, with mirrors?") Good
for seeing backwards.
(Lee: "...is there something fishy about it?" [Regarding a note sent
to Chan supposedly from Shanghai Police headquarters]) Slight odor, perhaps.
Charlie Chan often see enemies in shadow box; now enemies see Charlie Chan.
Charlie Chan often see enemies in shadow box. Now enemy see Charlie Chan. (To Marloff)
(Marloff: "Just a taste of your own medicine.")
Medicine very bitter.
Answer to question veiled in death. (To Marloff, regarding the
reason that Sir Stanley Woodland had asked Chan to come to Shanghai)
Principle of trusting no one make me doubt even you. (To Andrews)
(Andrews: "One man cannot move a mountain, you know.") But two men can start digging.
You pretend to be G-man, now turn out to be "NG"-man. (To Andrews)
you plenty of rope, you make excellent noose for neck. (To Andrews)
CHARLIE CHAN'S SONG:
The Song of Princess Ming Lo Fu
Long the journey, hard the way,
But his heart was gay;
For, was he not
a prince both strong and brave,
Vowed a princess fair to save?
And he slew the dreadful dragon,
Even cut off his seven heads;
And in his cave he found the
Bound to her lowly bed.
Then came they both back to the land
Of the mighty Emperor Fu Manchu,
To claim his reward, the
Of lovely Ming Lo Fu.
Variety, October 16, 1935
Charlie Chan is in Shanghai this time. Strange that the Chinese detective has never
been set there before, but that oversight is patched up very nicely in this film. It's right in line with the eight
previous Chan pictures and should follow along in its okay b.o. [box office] footsteps.
Warner Oland, the merry Swede who has won himself an international rep as a Chinaman, still handles the Chan assignment
with competence and ease. This time he's after a gang of dope smugglers in China.
[sic] is cast as his son and gets in some nice laughs. Charles Locher is the juve and seems to promise
screen growth. Other parts are mostly type cast.
After Earl Derr Biggers died last year Fox seemed to be faced
with the possible loss of the Chan stories as future screen fodder. They haven't at all. By assigning others to
carry the character on, they've got themselves a steady stream of popular material.
Gerard Fairlie and Edward T. Lowe
did a fine job on the current episode and Charlie's future still looks good.
PROBABLE DATE OF CHARLIE CHAN'S
INVOLVEMENT: May 7-9, 1935 (Note: Although on the surface, Charlie Chan seems to be at work on this case
only two days, the growth of beard stubble shown on Philip Nash's face following his "escape" from police headquarters demands
that at least one more day, perhaps two, be considered.)
DURATION: Three days
LOCATION: Shanghai, China
ACCORDING TO THE MISSIONARY WHO
MET CHARLIE CHAN ON THE SHIP TO SHANGHAI, THE LOCATION OF THE MISSION HE WAS CONDUCTING: "...in the Yang Tze Valley."
THE NOTE THAT WAS SLIPPED INTO
CHARLIE CHAN'S POCKET ABOARD THE SHIP:
THE WORDS ON THE LIFE PRESERVER
OF THE SMALL BOAT CARRYING THE REPORTERS AND CHARLIE CHAN: "Victoria - Shanghai"
THIS WAS NOT CHARLIE CHAN'S
FIRST VISIT TO SHANGHAI: REPORTER: Reporter: "This is your first visit to Shanghai in many years, isn't it?"
Charlie Chan: "Yes." (Note: According to the film "The Shanghai Cobra," Charlie Chan was again in Shanghai,
in 1937, as the Japanese bombed that city.)
THE TEXT OF THE SIGN AT CHINESE CUSTOMS:
"CHINESE MARITIME CUSTOMS
BAGGAGE EXAMINED HERE"
THE AMOUNT OWED BY LEE CHAN TO
THE RICKSHAW MAN, ACCORDING TO THE LATTER: "Wu souti" ("Five souti.")
ACCORDING TO CHARLIE CHAN, LEE'S
BUSINESS REASON FOR COMING TO SHANGHAI: "...(to) sell oil for lamps of China." (Note: This was an in-joke
reference to a film that Keye Luke had recently completed titled "Oil for the Lamps of China.")
THE SPEAKERS AT THE BANQUET HONORING CHARLIE CHAN:
Colonel Watkins, Commissioner of Police
Mr. Sun Wong
Sir Stanley Woodland
CHAN'S OLD FRIEND: Colonel Watkins (Colonel Watkins: "I count myself lucky to have known Charlie Chan
for quite a few years.") Colonel Watkins knew Charlie Chan from the time he (Watkins) worked at Scotland Yard "at the
time of Sir Lionel Bashford's murder."
CHARLIE CHAN'S "VERY GOOD FRIEND":
Sir Stanley Woodland (Charlie Chan: "Sir Stanley very good friend.")
THE CHAN FAMILY PHOTOGRAPH, HELD
BY CHARLIE CHAN, AND HIS COMMENT:
"Distance no hindrance to fond thoughts."
IVAN MARLOFF'S TELEPHONE NUMBER
(AS DIALED BY THE HOTEL OPERATOR): 12367
CHARLIE CHAN'S BREAKFAST ORDER:
"Will have coffee, rolls, marmalade, and very large omelet - Foo Yung."
CHARLIE CHAN'S HOTEL ROOM NUMBER: 324
THE DATE OF THE NOTE SENT TO CHARLIE CHAN BY IVAN MARLOFF
(POSING AS POLICE COMMISSIONER COLONEL WATKINS): May 8, 1935
THE TYPED NOTE TO CHARLIE CHAN
BY IVAN MARLOFF (POSING AS POLICE COMMISSIONER COLONEL WATKINS:
THE TELEPHONE NUMBER OF THE SHANGHAI POLICE COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE:
THE LETTERS ON THE COLLAR
OF THE FALSE SHANGHAI POLICE OFFICER: "SMP" (Shanghai Mission Police)
THE WORDS PRINTED ON JAMES ANDREWS'
THE SHANGHAI LAUNDRY AND ITS LOCATION MENTIONED
BY PHILIP NASH TO ANDREWS' BUTLER: "Soo Low Gow's" (two blocks away from Andrews' apartment)
STANLEY WOODLAND'S TYPED NOTE TO AGENT JAMES ANDREWS:
THE DRINK REQUESTED BY ANDREWS:
SIR STANLEY WOOLAND'S POSITION
WITH THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT: Secret agent
THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS COMMITTEE
MENTIONED BY ANDREWS: Opium Committee
THE ENVELOPE THAT CONTAINED THE MESSAGE FROM SIR STANLEY:
THE SECRET MESSAGE THAT WAS REVEALED ON THE BACK OF SIR STANLEY'S NOTE:
THE DRINK REQUESTED BY ANDREWS
FROM CHARLIE CHAN: Scotch
THE LICENSE PLATE NUMBERS OF NASH'S
GET AWAY CAR (TWO PLATES): 3465 and 3720
THE BRAND NAME ON BURNED STAMP PAD: "Excelsior
Inking Stamp PAD"
THE "ORDERS" GIVEN BY CHARLIE
CHAN TO SON LEE: "Return to hotel.
Burn disguise. Study detective book. Watch telephone...and take bath."
CHARLIE CHAN'S DESCRIPTION OF
THE SWITCHBOARD GIRL AT HIS HOTEL: "Very pretty brunette."
THE CAFE "FRONT" FOR OPIUM GANG:
THE NAME BY WHICH NASH WAS KNOWN
IN CHAN KING BY ONE OF THE OPIUM GANG MEMBERS: Bolt (Gang Member: "Well, if it ain't my old
pal from Chan King.")
THE DIALOGUE OF JAMES ANDREWS ON THE TELEPHONE: "53 reporting
on secret assignment file 457-M..."
THE DRINK ORDERED BY CHARLIE
CHAN AT THE VERSAILLES CAFE: Sarsaparilla
THE DRINK ORDERED BY ANDREWS AT
THE VERSAILLES CAFE: Scotch
THE ORDER PLACED BY THE KIDNAP
TAXI DRIVER AT THE VERSAILLES CAFE: "A bottle of whiskey - and two glasses."
THE TEXT OF THE CABLE FROM WASHINGTON, AS READ BY
"ANDREWS, BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION AGENT 53
ASSIGNED TO OPIUM SMUGGLING DETAIL IN SHANGHAI
MURDERED IN SAN FRANCISCO THREE WEEKS AGO.
MURDERER NOT APPREHENDED."
THE DATE OF THE MURDER OF THE
REAL AGENT ANDREWS: Mid-April 1935 ("Three weeks ago" in San Francisco)
out - (Informal) To
scold vociferously; reprimand or scold vigorously.
Lee Chan: "...before you bawl me out, Pop..."
(egg foo yung or egg fu yung) - A Chinese
omelet containing onions and celery and chopped meat or fish.
Chan: "Will have coffee, rolls, marmalade, and very large omelet - foo yung."
Gin Rickey - An
alcoholic beverage consisting of a mixture of gin, lime, and carbonated water.
James Andrews: "I'll join you at noon
for a Gin Rickey."
G-man - Government man. A special law-enforcement
agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Charlie Chan: "You pretend to be G-man, now turn out to be N.G.-man."
League of Nations - A world organization established
in 1920 to promote international cooperation and peace. It was first proposed in 1918 by President Woodrow Wilson, although
the United States never joined the League. Essentially powerless, it was officially dissolved in 1946.
James Andrews: "...the Opium Committee of the League of Nations..."
mugs - Thugs, hoodlums.
Lee Chan: "Tell these mugs to lay off me..."
N.G. - (Abbrevriation) No good.
Charlie Chan: "You pretend to be G-man,
now turn out to be N.G.-man."
(Interjection; origin: circa 1925-30) Used to express disgust, disbelief, or contempt.
Lee Chan: Ah phooey!"
- (Informal) Someone or something wonderful.
Chan: "Yeah, it's a pip, too."
sarsaparilla - Any of several tropical
American plants of the genus Smilax, having fragrant roots used as a flavoring. The dried roots of any of these
plants. A sweet soft drink flavored with these roots.
Charlie Chan: "Sarsapirilla."
sea legs - The ability to adjust one's
balance to the motion of a ship, especially in rough seas.
James Andrews: "...see if I can get rid of these sea legs."
Yang Tze - The Yang Tze (or Yangtze) River
is one of the world's great rivers. The Yang Tze valley is home to about one-third of China's population. Shanghai
is known as the gateway of the Yang Tze, and, for two centuries, the Yang Tze has served as a transportation and commercial
Missionary: "...in the Yang Tze Valley."