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Charlie Chan at the Circus (1936)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 27 March 1936 (USA)
While visiting the circus with his family, Charlie is recruited by the big top's co-owner to investigate threatening letters that he's received.

Director:

Harry Lachman

Writers:

Robert Ellis (original screen play), Helen Logan (original screen play) | 1 more credit »
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The unsolved murder of a Hollywood actor several years earlier and an enigmatic psychic are the keys to help Charlie solve the Honolulu stabbing death of a beautiful actress.

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Director: Eugene Forde
Stars: Sidney Toler, Marjorie Weaver, Lionel Atwill
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Warner Oland ... Charlie Chan
Keye Luke ... Lee Chan
John McGuire ... Hal Blake
Shirley Deane ... Louise Norman
Francis Ford ... John Gaines
J. Carrol Naish ... Tom Holt
Paul Stanton ... Joe Kinney
Boothe Howard Boothe Howard ... Dan Farrell
Drue Leyton ... Nellie Farrell
Wade Boteler ... Police Lt. Macy
Shia Jung Shia Jung ... Su Toy
George Brasno George Brasno ... Tim
Olive Brasno Olive Brasno ... Tiny
Maxine Reiner ... Marie Norman
Franklyn Farnum ... Mike - Ticket Taker
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Storyline

Charlie receives fourteen free passes to the circus for him and his entire family but soon realizes that there are strings attached as the big top's co-owner asks his guest to investigate threatening letters that he's received. Before the famous detective can, the man is murdered. Charlie soon finds out that the co-owner was not a particularly pleasant or well-liked individual, and among the many suspects are his partner, a snake charmer and the menagerie's gorilla. Son Lee, usually an enthusiastic assistant for his father, is distracted by the show's beautiful contortionist. Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 March 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Charlie Chan no Circo See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The 11th of 16 Charlie Chan movies starring Warner Oland. See more »

Goofs

Charlie turns on a gramophone to play some eastern music in order to 'charm' a snake on his bed, but snakes follow the movements of the snake-charmer rather than the rhythm of the music, and Charlie Chan remains still. See more »

Quotes

Charlie Chan: One grain of luck sometimes worth more than whole rice field of wisdom.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Dark Alibi (1946) See more »

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User Reviews

 
This Chan Circus Should Have Been More Fun
13 April 2007 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

I am a big fan of Charlie Chan, owning all the Warner Oland/Sidney Toler episodes I can find and enjoying them, but that doesn't mean they automatically are all wonderful. This one is okay, but disappointing considering how much better it could have been.

It did have its customary comic moments with Keye Luke as Number One Son and Charlie had a ton of proverbs, but they weren't particularly profound or humorous, just so-so. One thing different was the co-starring of real-life "small people" circus performers, George and Olive Branso, who were okay as actors.

With a setting like the circus, and with Chan's huge family all there (a dozen kids) they could have all kinds of interesting scenarios, but outside of a quick cobra scene and an ape making noise a few times, not much happened. This story was just plain flat overall until the final 10 minutes. The ending was pretty clever but it was a case of too-little, too-late.

Overall, it's not a bad film but there is an "edge" to this murder-mystery that is missing.


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