February 17, 2008


Happy, hokey stories in nice DVD sets: Making a case for Charlie Chan (Jonathan Storm, 2/17/08, Philadelphia Inquirer)

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who think Warner Oland made the best Charlie Chan, and those who think Sidney Toler was better.

"Contradiction, please: Opinion like tea leaf in hot water. Need time to brew. Most sprouts know nothing of humble self."

"Golly, Pop, you've got it right again. Gee, you're swell."

"Uncle Chuckie," as we have called him in our house since watching the ancient films beamed from Boston to the Vermont hills in the early '70s on some low-rent, late-night movie show, kept Fox in business in the '30s. The B movies, churned out as many as five times a year, consistently filled Depression-era theaters.

Oland, the original, more mystical Chan, died in 1938, and the studio has released most of his movies (some are lost) on DVD. The first four Toler films (one from 1938, the rest from '39) hit the stores last Tuesday in a boxed set, Charlie Chan Vol. 4 ($49.98).

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 17, 2008 10:26 AM

Those Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes' movies are also great.

Posted by: pchuck at February 17, 2008 12:24 PM

pchuck: Give me Jeremy Brett any day.

Posted by: Bartman at February 18, 2008 9:32 AM