Charlie Chan at the Race Track
20th Century Fox
directed by H. Bruce Humberstone
starring Warner Oland, Keye Luke, Helen Wood, Thomas Beck, Alan Dinehart, Gavin Muir, Gloria Roy, Jonathan Hale, G.P. Huntley, George Irving, Frank Coghlan jr, Frankie Darro, John Rogers, John Henry Allen, Harry Jans
story by Lou Breslow, Saul Elkins, screenplay by Robert Ellis, Helen Logan, Edward T.Lowe jr, based on a characters created by Earl Derr Biggers
Charlie Chan, Charlie Chan (Warner Oland), Number One Son Lee Chan, Charlie Chan at Fox
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Major Kent (George Irving), a famous racehorse owner, is found kicked
to death by his prizewinning racehorse while shipping the animal from
Australia to San Francisco. Fortunately, the boat has a stopover at
Honolulu, where Charlie Chan (Warner Oland) comes aboard to investigate -
because somehow he just cannot believe the animal would kill its owner,
and he soon finds evidence that suggests otherwise, too.
The boat of
course is full of suspects, from a jockey (Frankie Darro) fired by Kent
for throwing a race, to all sorts of gamblers, to a rival hoseowner
(Jonathan Hale) to Kent's rather shady staff, especially his suspicious
looking trainer (Gavin Muir). Chan soon uncovers a whole gambling ring and
discovers the horse that killed Kent was actually exchanged with that of
his rival, and at the next race in San Francisco, he uncovers a plot to
kill the horse right after it passed the finish line by a mechanized
Still, who's behind it all?
George (Alan Dinehart) of course, who always pretended to only have only a
passing interest in horseracing, but who's actually a heavy gambler who
has made up an elaborate scheme to win big and sell a prizewinning horse
at the same time without anyone noticing there was something major fishy
going on. But of course, in the end Charlie Chan sees to it that justice
Keye Luke can be seen as Charlie Chan's number one son who
becomes a cabin boy on the ship to accompany his father ... and in order
to come across convincingly, he pretends to be an Asian caricature - quite
amusingly, I might add.
A mystery that most certainly has its
moment, and its strong cast sees to it that it doesn't sink - but at the
same time, the whole thing is just too convoluted to properly follow, and
at times way too far-fetched to actually work. Still, an ok series mystery
I guess, just not one of the better Charlie Chan flicks.