Charlie Chan boxed set and in exchange he let me borrow Charlie Chan at the Opera (1936) and a couple other films too. Now that was a long time ago, so I need to get this back to him. Because we work together, I have at least 5 opportunities each week to exchange DVDs with Frank. It's very nice and we exchange books as well. It's great sharing with friends, especially friends with such great taste in movies and books!
Review: Charlie Chan at the Opera (1936 or 1937) is the most famous of all the Charlie Chan films. Why? Because it stars Warner Oland, whom many Charlie Chan enthusiasts deem the best of the six or so actors who played Charlie Chan. Co-starring in the film is Boris Karloff, the biggest name ever to appear in a Charlie Chan film. This one hour drama is fun to watch as Karloff creeps everyone out and Oland/Chan outwits everyone with his proverbs and serious detective skills. I want to point out that William Demarest, a very good character actor who appeared in many films during the 1930s including a few with Humphrey Bogart, plays a dimwitted cop. My favorite line of the film is uttered by his character: (to Chan) "You are like chop suey! Mysterious but still a swell dish."
Karloff plays opera star Gravelle (::snickers::) who escapes from an insane asylum. He seeks revenge against the other opera stars, including his previous lover Madame Lili Rochelle, with whom he had a child Kitty Gravelle. First Charlie Chan is put on the case to help the police find Gravelle but then when murders start happening at the opera house, Chan is determined to find the killer.
This is a great film to introduce to someone who is new to the Charlie Chan movies. Some folks are sensitive to the stereotyping in the film. I tell them that even though Charlie Chan can be a bit of a caricature his character is always smarter than everyone else. Now if he could only be a bit nicer to his son! Thank you Frank for letting me borrow this film!