29 January 2006 | netwallah
A pre-Chan international romance mystery
An international orientalizing romance mystery from the pen of Earl Derr Biggers, author of the Charlie Chan mysteries. Chan is not really in this movie, except indirectlyinstead there is a British-explorers-in-the-East theme, India and Persia and Tehran and pith helmets. Eve Mannering (Lois Moran) has married the wrong man, Durand (Philip Strange), who is a bounder and who has killed an agent, Hillary Galt, to prevent Eve's uncle from finding out. A watchman, blackmailing him, writes to Eve in India, and she confronts her husband, who hurts her and acts threatening, so she disappears into the desert with dashing, dependable Col Beetham (Warner Baxter) who has been longing for her all his life. Meanwhile, the urbane Scotland Yard detective Sir Frederick Bruce (Gilbert Emery) pursues the mystery with a clue provided by Chan, and the story winds up in San Francisco will all wrinkles ironed out. A very early sound movie, this one is marred not so much by the spotty sound recording as by the stagy acting style: thrilling and plummy tones ("ohhhhhhhhh Erik!") from Moran and Baxter. She's sometimes quite winsome, and Boris Karloff has a tiny part as Beetham's oriental servant. Later films focus on Chan, but not this one. Interesting use of title phrase, first to indicate why explorers explore, and then to preface Beetham's film-illustrated lecture at the denouement.