Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Century-Fox Film Corporation, January 21, 1938
Production: September 20 to mid-October 1937
Copyright: Twentieth Century-Fox
Film Corporation, January 21, 1938; LP 8366
Opened: Roxy, New York, N.Y., the week of December 17, 1937
Electric Mirrophonic recording
Film: Black and white
Length: 8 reels, 6,465 feet
Running Time: 71 minutes
Code Administration Certificate Number: 3797
Source: Based on the character "Charlie Chan" created by Earl Derr Biggers.
Director: Eugene Forde
Associate Producer: John Stone
Assistant Director: Saul Wurtzel
Belden and Jerry Cady
Original Story: Robert Ellis and Helen Logan
Photography: Daniel B. Clark
Art Direction Associate: Haldane Douglas
Film Editor: Nick DeMaggio
Direction: Samuel Kaylin
Sound: Bernard Freericks and Harry M. Leonard
CAST (as credited):
Warner Oland: Charlie Chan
Keye Luke: Lee Chan
Virginia Field: Evelyn Grey
Blackmer: Victor Karnoff
Harold Huber: [Inspector] Jules [Etienne] Joubert
Kay Linaker: Joan Karnoff
Edward Raquello: Paul Savarin
George Lynn: Al Rogers (also called Albert Rogers)
Mercier: Taxi Driver
George Davis: Pepite (First Gendarme)
John Bleifer: Ludwig [Krauss]
UNCREDITED CAST (alphabetical):
Edward Biby: Hotel Guest
Emile Bistagne: Casino Patron
Eumenio Blanco: Waiter
Eugene Borden: Hotel Clerk
Jack Chefe: Attendant
Jean De Briac: Doorman
Marcelle Corday: Concierge
André Cheron: Croupier
Gennaro Curci: Waiter
Victor Delinsky: Gendarme
Fred Farrell: Townsman
Antonio Filauri: Waiter
Constant Franke: Croupier
Robert Graves: Gendarme
Sherry Hall: Bartender
Ramsay Hill: Casino Patron
Louis Lubitch: Gendarme
Alphonse Martell: Gendarme
Harold Miller: Casino Patron
George Nardelli: Casino Patron
Manuel Paris: Doorman
Jean Perry: Gendarme
John Picorri: Waiter
Albert Pollet: Attaché
Joseph Romantini: Attaché
George Sorel: Gendarme
Count Stefenelli: Casino Patron
Leo White: French Butler
Charlie Chan and number one son Lee are passing through Monte Carlo on their way to Paris
for an art show in which Lee has a painting. While there, they meet Inspector Jules Joubert, chief of police of Monte
Carlo. That evening, as father and son leave to catch the train from Nice, their taxi breaks down. Chan and Lee
continue on foot until they see an expensive roadster speed past them, leaving another car in which the two find a dead man.
Two gendarmes arriving at the scene misunderstand Lee's poor French, and understand him to say that they were responsible
for the man's murder.
Back in Monte Carlo, after Chan and Lee are released by authorities, an investigation reveals
that the dead man was Renault, a bank messenger who was on his way to Paris with $1,000,000 in metallurgic bonds, now missing,
which belonged to Victor Karnoff. It is also discovered that three metallurgic bonds were offered for sale that same
day at a Monte Carlo bank by Al Rogers, a bartender at the Hotel Imperiale.
Later, Chan and Lee recognize the expensive
roadster in front of the hotel and learns that it belongs to Evelyn Grey, who is a resident there. Inspector Joubert
and Chan find her in the company of Paul Savarin, a stockbroker and Karnoff's bitter rival. Although she admits stopping
by the car, Evelyn says that she had fled in fright when she had seen Chan and Lee approach, figuring them to be the murderers.
Joubert learns that Karnoff's chauffeur Ludwig, who had driven Renault, was in league with Savarin. Originally suspecting
that Ludwig had committed the crime, Joubert soon learns that the driver's body has been found in a swamp near the car.
next day, Karnoff's wife Joan, who had, the night before, begged Rogers to give her back the three bonds that she had previously
given to him, admits to him that she had stolen them from his room. Rogers then gives her until noon to repay him their
value of $25,000.
At breakfast that morning, Evelyn promises Gordon Chase, Karnoff's secretary who is in love with
her, that she will not see Savarin again and that Savarin means nothing to her. After Chan learns that Evelyn has been
living in luxury with no visible means of support, and that Joan Karnoff had pawned jewelry that morning for $25,000, the
value of the three missing bonds, he and Joubert go to interrogate Rogers. However, upon arriving at his room, they
find him dead with an open valise full of Karnoff's stolen bonds. Joubert concludes that Rogers had committed suicide,
and that the case is closed, but Chan suggests that the evidence shows otherwise.
Chan and Joubert go to see Karnoff
at his house where they also find Joan, Savarin, Gordon, and Evelyn. Joan confesses
that Rogers, whom she had married seven years earlier, and whom she had thought had obtained a divorce, was blackmailing her.
As a result, she had given him the three bonds, but had stolen them back when she had learned of Karnoff's million-dollar
deal from her brother, Gordon, who secretly replaced them for her.
Chan has Lee bring in the valise containing the bonds only to find that it is locked. Asking Karnoff for the
key, Gordon supplies it and opens the lock. Chan then announces that Gordon Chase is the murderer, as the valise had
been found open with no damage to its lock in Rogers' room, and the only keys to it were in the possession of the messenger,
Renault, and Karnoff's secretary, Gordon. Other facts seal the case against Gordon who confesses to the crimes, berating
Evelyn Grey for whom he had stolen from Karnoff so that she could live a rich lifestyle. When Gordon had felt he was
in danger of being exposed, he had killed Rogers, attempting to make it look as if he had commited the crimes.
swearing revenge against Evelyn, flees through an open window, but is run over and instantly killed by a speeding car. Joubert
"suggests" that Evelyn and Savarin leave Monte Carlo.
With the case successfully concluded, Inspecter Joubert gives
Charlie Chan and Lee another send-off as they haltingly depart in the same backfiring taxi that had broken down earlier.
NOTE: Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo was
Warner Oland's last film. He had begun work on Charlie Chan at the Ringside in January of 1938,
but the production was halted when the actor walked off the set on the 17th of that month. According to news items,
there was a dispute between Oland and the studio. Reportedly
suffering from a nervous breakdown, Oland spent the month of February in a hospital. In March, having significantly
recovered, he signed a contract with Twentieth Century-Fox to make three more Charlie Chan films. It was agreed that
the actor would take a break and sail to Europe, and then begin shooting the next Charlie Chan movie, Charlie Chan in
Honolulu, upon his return. However Oland contracted a fatal case of bronchial pneumonia while visiting the country
of his birth, Sweden, passing away on August 6, 1938.
Adapted from: AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE CATALOG - Within Our Gates: Ethnicity in American
Feature Films, 1911-1960
CHARLIE CHAN'S APHORISMS:
Humble presence of no more importance than one drop of rain in cloudburst.
Illustrious ancestor once say, "Destination never reached by turning back on same."
Action speak louder than French.
Tongue often hang man quicker than rope.
One picture still worth ten thousand words.
Questions are keys
to door of truth.
Truth cannot be insult.
Car with new sparkplug like flea on puppy dog - make both most active.
OTHER WORTHY STATEMENTS:
Contradiction of old saying that
"talk is cheap." (To Jules Joubert regarding Paul Savarin and Victor Karnoff who compete at
high stakes gambling to "make a statement")
(Lee: "Gosh, Pop, I haven't a cent in my pocket.") Rejoice
that you still have honorable pants.
(Lee: "I like detective work better than painting.")
If paintings as full of imagination as detective work, he will be Chinese Rembrandt.
French very difficult language.
(To Lee as he signals in vain to a passing car while hitch hiking)
(Lee: "There's another car down there, Pop! Must have been an
accident.") Perhaps like our own taxi - on sit-down strike.
Fortunately, assassination of French
language not serious crime. (To Lee)
So sorry, but find Monte Carlo hospitality difficult to escape. (To
Jules Joubert who is surprised to see Charlie Chan and son Lee in a jail cell)
Present case, like too many
cocktails, make very bad headache. Perhaps bartender provide remedy for same. (To Jules Joubert
regarding bartender Al Rogers)
Perhaps bright sunshine bring forth solution. (To
Very doubtful petty larceny mouse attack millionaire lion. (To
Jules Joubert regarding Al Rogers)
Perhaps we now catch lion in mousetrap...or lioness. (To
Unfortunately, Mr. Rogers already depart on long journey. (To
Lee regarding Al Rogers' murder)
Will be facing greatest mystery if award given to offspring's painting.
(To Jules Joubert regarding Lee's painting in a Paris exhibition)
Variety, December 22, 1937
Perhaps Hollywood's nearest approach to achieving perpetual motion is the regularity with
which 'Charlie Chan' cop-chase-crook mellers are milled out.
Finding the Chinese detective 'at Monte Carlo' also finds
Warner Oland in his 16th feature as Chan in the last six years. Pic, obviously aimed at the duals, should be o.k. on
popularity already built up and streamlined. But it's a bit under average for Chan celluloiders.
commits the murders is very well concealed; in fact, too well. Not enough clues are strewn about for the audience to
have any chance of nailing the one in advance through deduction. That's rather unfair and weakens the effect of the
pic as a whole.
Plot finds 'Chan' passing through Monaco for a gander at the gambling casino. He is detained
at departure when his taxi breaks down and he discovers a murder and a theft of $1,000,000 worth of bonds. The usual
several adjunctive murders follow.
Suspects include almost all the cast characters, but motives for the crimes are
too vaguely established and the progression of plot moves too haltingly.
'Chan' seems to be running out of bon mots
derived from 'Old Chinese proverbs' to sum up situations. His 25-year-old son (Keye Luke) supplies rather lightweight
humor by his bumbling when trying to independently track down the villain. Harold Huber is swell source of humor as
a gesticulating, apologetic chief of Monaco's police. It's an abrupt departure from the heavy characterizations which Huber
has always done in the past, and reveals him as an actor with more facets than suspected.
There's no real romantic
side to the yarn, which proves something of an oversight, in view of the general plot weaknesses. Also poor judgment
was having so much dialog couched in French, whole scenes thus being negated for Yankee audiences.
Rest of the cast
about o.k., with Sidney Blackmer and Edward Raquello in good form as smoothies. In a bit, Louis Mercier scores as a
muttering, clog-craniumed hack driver.
Direction might have speeded the yarn more; camera didn't set the film off
DATE: August 25-26, 1937 (Wednesday and Thursday) Lee
Chan notes: "...this is the 25th of August..."
DURATION: Two days
LOCATION: Monte Carlo, Principality of
THE TYPE OF CAR SHOWN ARRIVING AT THE CASINO DE MONTE CARLO:
Hispano Sutra town car
THE NAME OF THE COUPLE REGISTERING AT THE CASINO DE MONTE
CARLO AHEAD OF CHARLIE CHAN AND SON LEE: M. and Mme. de Chaigny
THE CARD ISSUED TO M. AND MME. DE CHAVIGNY:
LEE CHAN'S FOUR REASONS FOR CONSIDERING THE NUMBER 25 TO BE LUCKY
FOR HIM - PLUS ONE MORE:
The Chans' hotel room in Nice is number 125.
Lee is 25 years old.
The date is August 25.
It is the Chinese year 9325.
Charlie Chan: "25 is also amount you borrow from
me last week."
THE ACTUAL CHINESE YEAR IN 1937: 4635
THE GAME PLAYED BY VICTOR KARNOFF AND PAUL SAVARIN:
Chemin de Fer (Baccarat)
THE AMOUNT OF PAUL SAVARIN'S BET: 50,000
THE AMOUNT ASKED FOR AND GIVEN TO EVELYN GREY
BY VICTOR KARNOFF TO USE AS A BET: 1,000 Francs
THE FIRST WINNING NUMBER CALLED OUT ON THE ROULETTE
WHEEL: "Vinct-quatre, noir." (24, black)
LEE'S FIRST ROULETTE BET: 20 francs on
THE SECOND WINNING NUMBER CALLED OUT ON THE ROULETTE
WHEEL: "Dix-sept, noir" (17, black)
LEE'S SECOND ROULETTE BET: 20 Francs on
THE THIRD WINNING NUMBER CALLED OUT ON THE ROULETTE
WHEEL: "Douze, rouge." (12, red)
THE VALUE OF THE MISSING METALLURGIC BONDS, ACCORDING
TO GORDON CHASE: $25,000
THE VALUE OF THE METALLURGIC BONDS THAT VICTOR
KARNOFF HAD PLANED TO SELL OFF TO "WRECK SAVARIN": $1 million
THE AMOUNT OF TIME THAT JOAN KARNOFF HAD TO GET
THE MISSING METALLURGIC BONDS TO HER BROTHER GORDON CHASE: "About an hour."
THE NUMBER OF STRAIGHT HANDS WON BY VICTOR KARNOFF
AGAINST PAUL SAVARIN AT CHEMIN DE FER: Five
ACCORDING TO LEE CHAN, THE REASON THAT HE AND HIS POP WERE ON THEIR WAY TO
PARIS: "I'm exhibiting a painting at the Paris Exhibition, and we've got to be there for the showing."
THE HOTEL WHERE AL ROGERS WORKED AT THE BAR:
THE DRINK ORDERED BY JOAN KARNOFF AT THE BAR AT
THE HOTEL IMPERIAL: Benedictine
THE DRINK ORDERED BY THE COUPLE AT THE BAR:
"Cocktail de Bronx"
THE HOTEL WHERE EVELYN GREY HAD A SUITE:
THE BOND SERIAL NUMBERS AS READ BY RENAULT TO VICTOR KARNOFF:
"Series G - 18407 to 17."
"J - 2264 to 74."
"K - 2755 to..." (missing bonds)
"R - 9183 to 93."
VICTOR KARNOFF'S TELEPHONE CONTACT IN PARIS FOR
THE BOND SALE: Ramboullet
THE TYPE OF CAR SEEN BY CHARLIE CHAN AND SON LEE
LEAVING THE MURDER SCENE ON THE ROAD TO NICE: White Dussenberg roadster convertible
THE LICENSE NUMBER OF THE MONTE CARLO POLICE CAR THAT WAS FLAGGED DOWN BY LEE CHAN ON THE ROAD TO NICE, FRANCE: 3475
AT THE TIME CHARLIE CHAN AND SON LEE ARE RELEASED
FROM THEIR MONTE CARLO JAIL, THE LENGTH OF TIME SINCE THEIR TRAIN HAD DEPARTED NICE, FRANCE: "...20 minutes ago." (perhaps about 11 p.m.)
THE CASES IN JULES JOUBERT'S DESK, MENTIONED BY
JOUBERT TO CHARLIE CHAN: "Mlle. Fifi Zaza report the loss of puppy dog...A doctor has the watch stolen...A bartender
attempts the sale of some bonds and the bank lift the eyebrows."
THE NUMBERS OF THE MISSING METALLURGIC BONDS AND THEIR VALUES:
M 2756 250,000 Francs
M 2757 250,000 Francs
M 2758 250,000 Francs
THE AMOUNT FOR WHICH AL ROGERS HAD ATTEMPTED
TO SELL THESE THREE BONDS: $25,000
CALCULATING FROM THE ABOVE INFORMATION, THE VALUE
OF THE FRANC TO U.S. DOLLARS ON AUGUST 25, 1937: A little over 3 cents (30 francs to the dollar)
EVELYN GREY'S SUITE NUMBER: 319
THE TIME AS EVELYN GREY LEFT THE CASINO TO TAKE
"AN HOUR'S DRIVE" ON THE ROAD TO NICE: 10 p.m.
THE TIME OF EVELYN GREY'S SCHEDULED APPOINTMENT
WITH GORDON CHASE AT THE CASINO: 11 p.m.
THE LOCATION OF THE RESIDENCE OF AL ROGERS:
AL ROGERS' ROOM NUMBER AT THE HOTEL IMPERIAL:
THE TIME AS PAUL SAVARIN TELEPHONED TO CHARTER
AN AIRPLANE TO FLY FROM NICE TO PARIS: 8 p.m.
THE TIME AS PAUL SAVARIN CALLED THE AIRPORT AT
NICE TO CANCEL HIS CHARTERED PLANE: 9:30 p.m.
PARTIAL VIEW OF THE BREAKFAST MENU OF THE HOTEL IMPERIAL:
LEE CHAN'S BREAKFAST ORDER: Strawberries
and cream and ham and eggs
CHARLIE CHAN'S BREAKFAST ORDER: Waffles
CHARLIE CHAN'S DRAWING ON THE REVERSE SIDE OF
THE MENU USED TO VISUALLY DESCRIBE TO THE FRENCH-SPEAKING WAITER THE WAFFLES HE WANTED FOR BREAKFAST:
THE TIME OF CHARLIE CHAN'S AND SON LEE'S BREAKFAST
AT THE HOTEL IMPERIAL: 9 a.m. (based on Charlie Chan's statement to Lee: "Note: young lady [Evelyn Grey] keep appointment
[with Gordon Chase] ten hours late.")
WHAT THE WAITER BROUGHT TO CHARLIE CHAN
THE PRICE OF THE 'CROSSWORD PUZZLES' MAGAZINE:
THE PLANNED TIME AND PLACE OF EVELYN GREY'S AND
GORDON CHASE'S MEETING TO HAVE COCKTAILS: 5 p.m. at the Hotel Imperial
PAUL SAVARIN'S ORDERS FOR THE STOCKS HE SOLD
OVER THE TELEPHONE: "...Sell them (unknown stocks) in 10,000 share lots. And offer 5,000 Burma Timber..."
EVELYN GREY'S ORDER AT THE HOTEL IMPERIAL BAR:
THE POLICE INFORMATION ON EVELYN GREY AS TRANSLATED
TO CHARLIE CHAN BY JULES JOUBERT: "Age 24; born in London; unmarried; occupation: mannequin. Left position in
April. Since then, living expensively in Monte Carlo with invisible income."
THE POLICE INFORMATION ON AL ROGERS AS TRANSLATED
TO CHARLIE CHAN BY JULES JOUBERT: "Age 35; born in Chicago; arrested twice for petty larceny - no conviction.
Occupation: Vaudeville dancer. Appeared in French music halls in 1936. Since employed as bartender in Vichy and Monte
ACCORDING TO JULES JOUBERT, THE TIME AS JOAN
KARNOFF BROUGHT JEWELRY TO A PAWN SHOP IN NICE: "...at eight o'clock this morning."
ACCORDING TO JULES JOUBERT, THE AMOUNT THAT JOAN
KARNOFF HAD BEEN PAID FOR THE JEWELRY: 750,000 Francs (equal to $25,000) (Jules Joubert: "25,000 dollars!")
ACCORDING TO JULES JOUBERT, THE LENGTH OF TIME
SINCE THE LAST MURDER IN MONTE CARLO: "...25 years..."
THE DATE, ACCORDING TO JOAN KARNOFF, WHEN
SHE HAD MARRIED AL ROGERS: "...seven years ago." (1930)
THE TIME As SHOWN ON THE CLOCK ON THE WALL AT
THE VILLA OF VICTOR KARNOFF: 2:40 (p.m.)
ACCORDING TO JULES JOUBERT, THE APPROXIMATE TIME
OF AL ROGERS' MURDER: "...between ten and eleven (a.m.)."
THE DOLLAR AMOUNT OF THE BONDS MISSING FROM THE
RECOVERED BAG: $200,000
THE LENGTH OF TIME GIVEN TO EVELYN GREY AND PAUL
SAVARIN BY JULES JOUBERT TO LEAVE MONTE CARLO: 24 hours
all in - (Idiom) Very tired;
Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo - Evely Grey: "I'm all in with
that session with the police last night."
asbestos - A fireproof fabric woven
from asbestos fibers, formerly used for theater curtains, firefighters' gloves, etc.
Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo - Charlie Chan: "Next time must buy asbestos
- A sweet cognac-based liqueur, flavored with various aromatics, fruit peels and herbs.
Joan Karnoff: "Benedictine."
- The stock exchange in Paris, France.
Jules Joubert: "They are the enemies on
the Bourse as well as in the casino."
fer - (French) The French version of baccarat, chemin de fer
is a casino game in which players bet on either of two hands dealt on the table: the "player" or the "banker."
The hand that comes closer to 9 wins.
Jules Joubert: "Perhaps you would like
to play a little roulette or chemin de fer,
femme - (French) "Look for the woman."
Jules Joubert: "Cherchez la femme
- always at the bottom of trouble is a woman."
Bronx (Bronx Cocktail) - 1 oz vermouth, 1 oz gin, juice of 1/4 orange, 1 slice
orange. Shake all ingredients (except orange slice) with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Add the orange slice
and serve. The Bronx Cocktail was supposedly invented by Johnnie Solon of the Waldorf-Astoria bar in Manhattan.
A "Cocktail de Bronx" was ordered by a couple
at the bar in the Hotel Imperial.
crime passionelle - (French) Crime of passion.
Lee Chan: "It's what the French newspapers
call a crime passionelle."
- (Slang) Money.
Al Rogers: "I want that dough, see?"
- (1) A Chinese betting game in which the players
lay wagers on the number of counters that will remain when a hidden pile of them has been divided by four. (2) A card game in which sevens and their equivalent are played in sequence
and the first player out of cards is the winner.
Charlie Chan: "Venerable grandparent once
have large holdings in fan-tan house."
- (French) A waiter or attendant.
Joan Karnoff: "Garçon,
my wraps, please."
in a jam
- (Idiom) In a difficult, threatening, or embarrassing position; also, unable to
solve a dilemma.
Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo - Joan Karnoff: "You know I was in a jam."
- Of or pertaining to metallurgy or metals (in the case of bonds, probably relating to valuable metals such as gold or silver).
Gordon Chase: "$25,000 of the metallurgic
bonds are missing."
Rembrandt - (Rembrandt van
Ryn) (1606-1669) A very influential Dutch painter of the 17th century.
Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo - Charlie Chan: "...he will be Chinese
sit-down strike - A
strike in which workers refuse to leave the workplace until a settlement is reached. This form of protest was very much
in the news during the mid-1930s.
Charlie Chan: "Perhaps like own taxi,
on sit-down strike."
Vichy - A
small city in central France southeast of Paris noted for its spa and hot mineral springs. During the German
occupation from 1940-1944 this city was the capital of "free France."
Jules Joubert: "Since employed
as bartender in Vichy and Monte Carlo."