20 December 2016 | MartinHafer
A very typical sort of 30s B-mystery
In the 1930s and into the 40s, Hollywood made a million B mystery movies and, apart from westerns, were about the most popular sort of low-budget picture. And, in most, the formula was very, very similar...a murder occurs and the cops are mostly idiots, so it's up to an amateur to come in and show everyone how to solve the case. Because I love Bs so much, I must have seen at least a few hundred films like "Chinatown Squad"...and this one is very typical. It has the dumb cops, the baffling murder and the talented amateur, though in this case Ted Lacey (Lyle Talbot) WAS a cop but somehow got in trouble....and this case might help him get back on the force. The case involves a dead guy who is discovered in Chinatown and it all involves money for the Chinese communist cause (an unusual subject matter for the time, actually).
In many ways, this film is exactly like the products from all the other studios--particularly Monogram, who seemed to have made the most B murder mysteries. The acting is a bit better than usual and the cops just as dumb...so dumb you wonder why Ted would WANT to be back on the force! Worth seeing but far from a must-see.