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The Chinese Cat
Charlie Chan in The Chinese Cat

USA 1944
produced by
James S. Burkett, Philip N. Krasne for Monogram
directed by Phil Rosen
starring Sidney Toler, Mantan Moreland, Benson Fong, Joan Woodbury, Weldon Heyburn, Cy Kendall, Ian Keith, Anthony Warde, John Davidson, Dewey Robinson, I.Stanford Jolley, Betty Blythe, Jack Norton, Luke Chan, Sam Flint
written by George Callahan, based on characters by Earl Derr Biggers

Charlie Chan, Charlie Chan (Sidney Toler), Charlie Chan at Monogram

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Thomas Manning (Sam Flint) is murdered, & even though the police have a prime suspect, his wife (Betty Blythe), they can't prove anything & have to let her go ... but not so Paul Rebnik (Ian Keith), a criminologist, who writes a book about the case in which he strongly accuses Mrs Manning ... but essentially, he can't prove anything himself for sure ...

Mrs Manning's daughter Leah (Joan Woodbury) though is convinced that her mother is innocent, & via his useless Number Three Son (Benson Fong), she persuades Chinese supersleuth Charlie Chan (Sidney Toler) to pick up the case ... & upon hearing that, Rebnik bets him a large sum of money that Chan will draw the same conclusions as he did, & accuse Manning's wife in the end ... he couldn't be more wrong.

Chan, together with his son, his driver Birmingham Brown (Mantan Moreland) & detective Dennis (Weldon Heyburn), incidently Leah's fiancé, soon picks up a trail neglected by everyone else, that leads them to a smugglers' nest ... & to a dead man (John Davidson) ... & to an array of Chinese sculptures that just happen to have secret compartments with stolen gems hidden inside.

... & wouldn't you know it, Manning had several similar statues in his possession (among them the titular Chinese Cat).

Soon, it is found out that Manning was indeed running a smuggling racket, together with his (legit) business partner Deacon (Cy Kendall) ... but obviously Manning got too greedy & hid away an extremely valuable gem from his associates (in the Chinese Cat) & for that he had to die ...

Of course, Deacon makes a getaway, but, Chan & company, in hot puusuit, soon find him dead in a spooky funhouse ... & soon Chan & son have become captives of the remaining smuggling ring, who want to force the whereabouts of a valuable gem out of Chan by torturing his son - but Chan doesn't even flinch. Eventually the torture is halted by a rather klutzy interference by Birmingham, who makes enough of a mess of the situation that Chan can arrest all teh smugglers before the police arrive.


Not that this film would be any great piece of mystery, it's rather sloppily written, & the twists & turns of Chan's  investigations seem to be rather pulled out of a hat than thought through, but (as ever so often in the series) a light-hearted approach, an entertaining cast of regulars & a touch of humour make this a rather enjoyable B-mystery.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD