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The Chinese Ring

USA 1947
produced by
James S. Burkett for Monogram
directed by William Beaudine
starring Roland Winters, Warren Douglas, Mantan Moreland, Louise Currie, Victor Sen Yung, Philip Ahn, Byron Foulger, Thayer Roberts, Barbara Jean Wong, Chabing, George Spaulding, Le Tung Foo
screenplay by Scott Darlong, based on characters created by Earl Derr Biggers

Charlie Chan, Charlie Chan at Monogram, Charlie Chan (Roland Winters)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A Chinese princess (Barbara Jean Wong) is killed in Charlie Chan's (Roland Winters) home of all places, and just before dying the has enough life left in her to put down the words "Captain K". Chan and local police Sergeant Davidson (Warren Douglas) investigate and soon find not one but two Captain Ks among her acquaintances, Captain Kelso (Thayer Roberts), the man she wanted to buy warplanes for her brother back in China from, and Captain Kong (Philip Ahn), who was to smuggle these warplanes back to China on his boat. Davidson is certain the killer was one of these two, but he just can't find evidence against either. Chan meanwhile is not so sure and follows up a few other clues, one of which leads him to local bank president Armstrong (Byron Foulger), whose institute shows certain irregularities when it comes to the deposits and withdrawals of the princess' account ...

Then though it's revealed that Captain Kelso's a phony and has never owned any airplanes he could have sold to the princess, and that Captain Kong might have been in on this, and to top it all off, Kelso and Kong take Armstrong - who they think cheated them out of the money they wanted to cheat the princess out of - and Chan captive, to take them out to the high seas and get rid of them for good. It's only thanks to Chan's chauffeur Birmingham Brown (Mantan Moreland) that the police gets on their tail and searches Kong's ship just in time to save Chan and Armstrong and in the process arrest Kong and Kelso. The killer though is in the very end revealed to be neither of them but Armstrong, the only man who would have really profited from her death ...

 

The very first movie starring Roland Winters as Charlie Chan - and to be quite honest, he looks even less Asian than Warner Oland or Sidney Toler. Anyways, the film as such - a remake of Mr Wong in Chinatown from 1938 - is rather solid entertainment, it's decently paced, doesn't lose itself too much in unnecessary subplots or comic interludes, and has a certain light-footed note to it. Sure, all of this makes no genre classic, but that's probably not what a series-film like The Chinese Ring was intended to be, right?

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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out now on DVD