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  • Warner Oland, the Swedish-born actor famous for his Asian portrayals and in particular his portrayal of the famous Charlie Chan, gives a fine performance as Chan in this, one of his last screen performances before his untimely death. This time out, Charlie and #1 son, played as affably as ever by Keye Luke, are aboard a ship soon to dock in New York. A woman aboard stows something in #1's luggage and tries getting it later in Chan hotel room. Woman who mess with Charlie like fly that play in spider's web. OK, enough of that. Anyway, you get the usual good stuff you would find in most Chan films: a good mystery(I didn't figure this one out), some nice comedic touches with Chan's sayings and his by-play with his son, solid character acting from the likes of Luke, Donald Woods, Joan Marsh, etc..., and a look back at what New York was like in the late 30's. I enjoyed the film a good deal. It doesn't creak either like some of the earlier Chan films. It has a lively pace throughout.
  • Charlie Chan and #1 son Lee get mixed up with a mysterious woman on board a ship bound for New York. Unbeknownst to Chan, the woman is the former girlfriend of a gangster with information that, if published, could blow the lid off the underworld. She hides a small package in Chan's luggage to make sure it gets to New York safely. Shortly after arriving in New York, the woman is murdered in an office at the Hottentot Club. Can Chan discover the woman's secret and find her killer?

    Charlie Chan on Broadway is yet another very solid entry in the Chan series. Warner Oland and Keye Luke are as good and entertaining as ever. Plus, anytime I see the names Marc Lawrence or Leon Ames in the credits, I know I'm in for a good time. But the highlight of this one has to be the killer's identity. It completely caught me off guard.

    BIG TIME SPOILERS - If you've seen enough of the Charlie Chan movies (or any other detective type movies from the 30s and 40s), there are a few absolutes you can generally count on. One of them is that the Chan movies usually feature a young couple in love. While both may come under suspicion at some point in the movie, they are always exonerated by the end to continue their dreamy relationship. That's not the case in Charlie Chan on Broadway. One of the last people I expected - the male half of the ideal couple - is found to be the killer. It really threw me for a loop! END OF BIG TIME SPOILERS

    Overall, I'm very pleased to have discovered a "new" Charlie Chan film. I look forward to revisiting it many times in the future.
  • admjtk170116 April 2000
    Another really well done, atmospheric, Warner Oland/20th Century Fox Chan film. Although the film has nothing to do with the theater, as some might expect from the title, it is set amid the exotic night life of Broadway of the late 30's. It begins with Charlie and Lee aboard an ocean liner. Then in New York, the Hottentot Club is the main setting along with the hotel Chan and other notables stay at. This captures the mood of New York in the 30's--at least from a Hollywood perspective. The supporting cast is top notch with J. Edward Bromberg, Harold Huber in his best Chan role, Leon Ames, Marc Lawrence, Donald Woods, Louise Henry and Joan Marsh. The script is very clever. The hunt is on for a missing diary that could blow the lid off the mobs. Loads of fun!
  • "excuse please," but this is a straight forward top notch mystery with no gimmicks involved. Much of the action takes place in the Hottentot Club and the only dance is of a tropical variety that is more reminiscent of Charlie Chan in Rio or Panama.Warner Oland is at the top of his game playing the famous Chinese detective. Keye Luke, as usual, is excellent. Harold Huber does a fine job as Inspector Nelson and proves less silly than we'd see in future films.This must be considered one of the best.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I can never get upset with a Charlie Chan film, they're all simply classics. That being said, I already have a bias in favor of the Chan series so my review may be tainted.

    In this Chan outing, Charlie (Oland) and #1 son Lee (Keye Luke) find themselves hot on the trail of the murderer of an infamous ex-mob lady Billie Bronson (played by the sultry Louise Henry). Added to the fray is her missing diary which contains secrets that could blow the lid off of New York's underworld. We have the usual Chan formula, with a fast-paced, New York twist. You have the usual suspects (who more often than not turn out to be not guilty) and the big surprise ending where we learn who the real killer is. I can honestly say I didn't see it coming.

    The things which separate this film from others in the series are the hectic New York setting and a few very interesting characters. Huber's character Inspector Nelson seems to be one of those characters you either love or hate. I'm a lover because he adds so much flair to the movie. We even have him telling a woman to shut-up near the ending, which is something you don't see in many (if any) Chan flicks. A woman has never been treated so crudely up until now and I just love it. I found myself cracking up and rewinding the scene just so I can hear its delivery again.

    Lastly, this film's killer shocked me in more ways than one. He/she was actually a character I liked and cared for and I was a little heartbroken when I found out. That's something a Chan film hasn't ever made me feel, sad. But boy this movie sure is a wild ride and it ended up being one of the Chan films I like to watch over and over.

    Be sure to see this one soon and enjoy. You can thank me later!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I enjoyed CHARLIE CHAN ON Broadway but also have to admit that there isn't much new or special that sets it apart from all the other later Warner Oland films from the Charlie Chan series. It has all the usual elements--the assistance (whether wanted or not) of #1 son, plot twists and clever "Chanisms"--the clever aphorisms Charlie makes during the course of the film. So the film isn't a disappointment nor is it particularly distinguished.

    The plot involves a gangster's moll who is killed just before she reveals mob secrets. Despite the movie making it look like the mobsters Burke or Moran did it, I found this plot much easier to unravel than most when I noticed the exact same clue that Chan did when he gives a summation of the case at the end of the film--so it's not one of the more baffling mysteries of the series.

    Decent acting, plot and dialog--this is yet another fine Chan film. A bit better than the later Sidney Toler films of the series but not up to the standards of the better Chan films like CHARLIE CHAN IN London or CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OPERA.

    By the way, despite the title, there really isn't much about Broadway in this film--nothing about plays like you might expect. It just happens that the murders happened in the Broadway neighborhood, so don't expect anything like CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OPERA.
  • Snappy Warner Oland as Charlie Chan murder mystery set at sea and in New York. Oland's slowness in this film is complemented by good direction from an old hand, a total of five writers, and a great supporting cast. Harold Huber, making his Chan debut, plays an active and effective police inspector that works with and not in parallel with Chan. Joan Marsh looks great and turns in a solid performance. Keye Luke is allowed to help rather than hinder the crime solution. I suppose that Joan Woodbury's dancing was all the rage at the time.

    Plot involves diary that if published will cause a great deal of harm to a lot of people: `No poison more deadly than ink.' Lots of misdirection with an obvious suspect and another who it appears will be actually guilty: `Murder case like revolving door, when one side close another side open.' In the end, the police and Chan trap the killer but not until Chan reveals clues that the viewer cannot have been aware. Racial slurs against Orientals remain in the series with the New York Police Band playing `Chinatown' in honor of Chan's arrival. Interesting use of `Candid Camera' theme at the Hottentot Club. One of the better Oland Chan films - recommended.
  • tlg50021 July 1999
    This is better than most of the Charlie Chan. It has number one son, Keye Luke. As usual, it has the right mood, but, it also has a plot that actually almost makes sense. It is possible to solve along with Charlie on this one. Definitely, see if you can figure out who did it along with Charlie.
  • The title of this Charlie Chan flick is a misnomer because Broadway doesn't play a part in this film. Yes, we are in New York City for part of the story, but the scene isn't Broadway but "The Hottentot Club."

    This Chan story has the normal assortment of interesting characters. It didn't think Charlie's proverbs were up to snuff in this one but his repartee with Number One Son (Keye Luke) was fun to hear, as always.

    Louise Henry, a woman who has a diary that everyone is after in this murder-mystery, has one of the prettiest faces I've seen in a Chan movie. However, on the opposite side, Harold Huber as "Inspector Nelson" is one of the more annoying ones I've seen.

    Overall: good, and another in the series that I am still hoping to see on DVD.
  • A young woman, Billie, puts a package in a trunk belonging to Charlie Chan. Charlie is with his number one son. He is there to be honored at a luncheon. A woman is killed and it proves to be Billie. While things are being investigated the prime suspect gets out the door. Soon another person is murdered in Charlie's room. There is an incriminating diary involved. As is usually the case, Lee gets in the middle of everything. One thing I've noticed about Keye Luke's voice is so loud. Frequently there is someone outside the door or at a window. He continues to provide comic relief. One of the things about this episode is that there is little if any mention of the Great White Way.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    ***SPOILERS*** Warner Oland in his next to last film as Hawaiian master detective Charlie Chan gets involved in a double murder while attending a banquet in his honor by the New York Police Department as it's gust of honor. This has to do with mob moll Billie Bronson, Louise Henry, who after coming out of hiding in Europe was found gun down at the notorious mob hangout the Hottentot Club that her mobster boyfriend Buzz Moran, Leon Ames, ran.

    Charlie as usual is hampered by hi #1 Son Lee, Keye Luke, who among other things that made pop's job difficult was looking through the keyholes at the hotel, The Cartlon, that the two were staying at. It's a wonder he didn't get his head slammed by someone in the place opening up a door or being arrested by the hotel detective as a peeping Tom or Lee. As Charlie soon discovered the murder victim Billie Bronson's body was moved and evidence stolen when he was shown a photo of the murder scene. This lead Charlie #1 Son Lee as well as NYPD Police inspector Nelson, Harold Huber,to Billie Bronson's hotel room where there was discovered the body of murdered hoodlum Thomas Mitchell, Marc Lawrence, who's been following Billie all the way to NYC from far off Europe.

    ***SPOILERS*** As it soon turned Billie had an explosive diary that she was going to use to blackmail members of the New York city police as well as well placed New York politicians and businessmen who were involved with the town's criminal element who was paying them off to look the other way. It's was one of those involved who, seeing the writing on the wall, cracked and exposed the entire operation by trying to gun down Charlie in front of a dozen witnesses including Inspt. Nelson and #1 Son Lee. It was #1 Son Lee who saved his dad from being shot and killed by running interference and body slamming the gunman before he could get a shot off.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    One of Warner Oland's last appearances as Charlie Chan was this short and sweet mystery where Charlie happens to be involved in the smuggling of a diary intended to be used for blackmail. The blackmailer (Louise Henry) is all of sudden murdered and Chan must gather all the clues he can to find the killer. As it happens, he was on a cruise ship with the victim, and the diary somehow ended up in his trunk. This gets Number One Son (Keye Luke) involved, which of course, isn't a shining light in pop's eyes. "Does that mean I can go to?", Lee Chan asks his dad. "Unfortunately yes", Oland wryly replies, gathering up enough clues to prepare to uncover the killer amongst a list of sordid suspects (including J. Edward Bromberg, Donald Woods and Leon Ames) before they strike again. Even on their lowest budgets, the Chan mysteries always had some surprises, and this gives plenty of suspense as well before the culprit is named in the dramatic conclusion.
  • A nightclub singer with a diary full of other peoples' secrets gets bumped off and her diary is stolen. Charlie Chan gets to work investigating all the suspects with (mostly unwanted) help from "Number One Son" Lee. This is a fun entry in the series helped by a great cast. Keye Luke is a treat, especially in his scenes with the lovely Toshia Mori. Each of the Chan films he was in is better just by his presence. Harold Huber plays the obligatory baffled police inspector. Donald Woods, J. Edward Bromberg, Joan Marsh, Leon Ames, Marc Lawrence, and Douglas Fowley all offer good support. Lon Chaney, Jr. has a quick cameo. Avoid reading too much about this one before you see it or the identity of the killer might be spoiled for you. I was taken by surprise!
  • Nightclub singer Louise Henry returns to New York as it turns out with Warner Oland and number one son Keye Luke on the same boat. She hung around with a lot of criminal types like Marc Lawrence, Douglas Fowley, and Leon Ames and reputedly kept a diary of events that could mean long stretches in prison if she turns it over to law enforcement. Excellent reason for people wanting to do her harm.

    In addition to Warner Oland investigating to help Inspector Harold Huber of the NYPD, reporter and photographer Donald Woods and Joan Marsh are trying to scoop each other to please city editor J. Edward Bromberg who has a big interest in this case.

    I'm kind of divided in terms of my feelings about Charlie Chan On Broadway. On one hand the eventual perpetrator of both Henry and then Lawrence's homicide fits quite logically when you remember the sequence of events. But the casting will throw you off.

    Oland and Luke do some good work here helping clear up a pair of homicides of some people society won't miss unless you're a fan of Henry's singing.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Oriental sleuth Charlie Chan(Warner Oland) rides a bumpy sea to attend a police testimonial in New York City. A wayward nightclub singer(Louise Henry)plans to collect a tidy sum of money by selling her diary that contains a wealth of information concerning previous criminal activities and naming names. When the chanteuse is murdered, Charlie and Number One Son Lee(Keye Luke)join Chief Inspector Nelson(Harold Huber)in piecing together clues to find the killer. An overzealous newspaper reporter (Donald Woods)and a spunky photojournalist (Joan Marsh) try to make the hunt easier...but do they? This film moves at a good pace and is typically true to the Charlie Chan formula. Other players: J. Edward Bromberg, Douglas Fowley and Joan Woodbury.
  • Mike-76424 January 2005
    Billie Bronson returns to New York from Europe to blackmail Johnny Burke (a former flame) with her diary with contains information that the police would love to have in order to put Burke in the slammer. Billie hid the diary in Charlie's luggage and also plans to try to sell the diary to newspaper editor Murdock, while two reporters at Murdock's paper, reporter Speed Patten and photographer Joan Wendell, try to score an exclusive piece with Billie at Burke's nightclub, but after a meeting with Burke and girlfriend Marie Collins, Billie is found murdered in Burke's office. Charlie and Inspector Nelson rush to solve the case (with Lee also trying to work the case much to his father's enjoyment) where they find out that the person who also murdered Billie also stole the diary. Nelson arrests Burke on the circumstantial evidence, but has to turn him free when it doesn't pan out, but Charlie brings all the suspects in to present the murderer. This Chan entry seemed a lot better when thinking about it some time later, maybe one reason why is Huber's character (as well as the actor himself) is annoying as hell. The script plays more like it came from Warner Brothers with the nightclub and gangster motif, but it is good for its genre and film series. The actors playing the suspects are quite good in the portrayals. Rating, 7.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Charlie Chan on Broadway" is somewhat of a misnomer, since most of the New York City action takes place far from the bright lights of the theater district, and instead are presented in the setting of the Hottentot Club, a premier night club run by mobster Johnny Burke (Douglas Fowley). The film begins aboard an ocean liner, where we observe Burke's former flame Billie Bronson (Louise Henry) conceal a package in the Chan luggage; it turns out to be a diary containing information on mob rackets, and there are plenty who would pay dearly for it. When Billie turns up dead in the Club, along with her shipboard tail Tom Mitchell (Marc Lawrence), the hunt is on for the killer.

    Keye Luke is on board again as Number #1 Son Lee, and Harold Huber joins the Chan series as Police Inspector Nelson, quick to jump to conclusions based on partial evidence. It's this somewhat annoying aspect of Huber's character that makes one wonder how he became an inspector in the first place. Quite a few characters are placed at the center of the mystery, including newspaper reporter Speed Patten (Donald Woods), photographer Joan Wendall (Joan Marsh), and New York Bulletin Editor Murdock (J. Edward Bromberg). Of course, Burke is a prime suspect, along with henchman Buzz Moran (Leon Ames), but editor Murdock arouses suspicion when he arrives early for an appointment with the murdered Billie, as his newspaper would have the inside scoop on the diary's secrets.

    With crafty precision, Charlie Chan (Warner Oland) unravels the case based on evidence provided at the Bronson crime scene in mobster Burke's office - a photograph of the murder victim's location with it's effects, and the subsequent discovery of missing elements from the photo. They include a napkin and the key to the Chan hotel room! All of this sleight of hand casts suspicion on the main suspects - both Burke, and his current girlfriend and nightclub dancer Marie Collins (Joan Woodbury), who believes Billie's return from self imposed exile is a threat to her relationship with Burke.

    The final revelation of the killer's identity is typical of Chan films - reporter Speed Patten is involved in the mob rackets, and his access to the other suspects places him at the center of the action. The diary has enough information to put him and his cronies away for a long time, and ultimately, it does, as the Oriental Detective lays out the missing pieces of the case for the viewer.

    Warner Oland would go on to portray Charlie Chan only one more time for an adventure in Monte Carlo, before his untimely death shortly after from bronchial pneumonia. His health problems appear to have taken their effect on Oland's performance in this film, in which he appears less animated and jovial than in some of his prior efforts.
  • Mae West said in one of her films: 'Keep a diary, and one day it'll keep you...' And that most CERTAINLY goes for the diary of a young lady, Billie Bronson, who's just arrived on the same steamer with Charlie and Lee Chan back in New York after a year - because she had to go in hiding when it was found out then that Billie, who's acquainted with almost all of Manhattan's big-time mob, had kept a very detailed diary about all the ongoings in New York's underworld, which of course, if revealed to the public, would mean the ruin of most of the city's gangsters...

    No need to say that she's got to hide the extremely explosive - and valuable - little book in a safe place; and since she'd been followed even back on the steamer by a guy who was obviously after it, and since she happened to get acquainted with famous Charlie Chan there as well... what better place could there be than Charlie's hotel room in New York? She manages to place it there - but she doesn't manage to escape her own fate: while obviously bargaining with some of the people mentioned in her diary for a very high price for the evidence, she herself pays the highest price: she is shot in the office of the manager of one of Broadway's famous-infamous nightclubs, the 'Hottentot Club'.

    Very soon, of course, we get to know a whole bunch of suspects: except for 'Hottentot Club' manager Johnny Burke and his girlfriend Marie, who, as it turns out, had taken Johnny away from Billie, and in addition is the wife of the mysterious guy on the ship, who also keeps on searching for the diary, but is soon murdered as well - in Charlie's hotel room! Then there's newspaper editor Murdock, who also had his reasons for bargaining for the dangerous diary, and his ever-present employees, reporter 'Speed' Patten and photo reporter Joan, and shady Buzz Moran...

    And this time, after LOTS of dangerous adventures in the 'asphalt jungle', Charlie arranges a real 'classic' gathering of all the suspects in order to reveal the killer...

    Absolutely PERFECT in every aspect, from the formidable cast to the direction that catches marvelously the atmosphere of old Manhattan 'where the underworld can meet the elite' (like it says in "42nd Street") to the classic, ingenious 'whodunit' story, this is one of Charlie Chan's VERY best, and MOST entertaining cases!
  • Honolulu's Number One detective and his keen but hopeless Number One son are caught up in another murder mystery when a woman hides an incriminating diary in the room of their ocean liner shortly before docking in New York. The Broadway connection is tenuous, with most of the clues to the woman's murder found in one room. As always, there are plenty of suspects and shifting suspicions right up until the big reveal. Leon Ames is one of the suspects, while Lon Chaney Jr has a one-line part.
  • Charlie Chan on Broadway is one of the more solid efforts in the series. Fast paced with a decent amount of plausible suspects Detective Chan must not only suffer the bumbling of number one son (Keye Luke) but also the overwrought presence of the police inspector played by the endlessly frantic Harold Huber.

    Charlie is unintentionally drawn into a scandal when mob moll Billie Bronson hides incriminating evidence in his state room. When she turns up dead, Chan is naturally the man to solve things; Luke and Huber to provide stumbling blocks along the way.

    Brash from the outset with its ocean liner arrivals and bright lights big city feel it also offers a comically perverse "Candid Camera " evening at a nightclub with shutterbug customers chasing dancing girls about the floor.

    Oland in his next to last Chan is perfectly composed as usual.
  • While on a cruise ship back to New York, Charlie Chan (Warner Oland) and Number One son (Keye Luke) help a woman (Louise Henry) after an attempted theft from her cabin. When she arrives back in New York she is murdered in a nighclub leading Charlie to investigate.

    One of the top additions in the cycle that despite its relatively low budget is slick and moves at a good pace. Lon Chaney Jr. appears in an early role.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Associate producer: John Stone. Executive producer: Sol M. Wurtzel. Copyright 22 October 1937 by 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation. New York opening at the Central: 18 September 1937 (ran one week). U.S. release: 22 October 1937. 6,125 feet. 68 minutes.

    SYNOPSIS: A gangster's moll is murdered at the Hottentot Club. Charlie suspects foul play.

    NOTES: Number fifteen of the sixteen pictures made by Warner Oland in the series, and the third of five (four with Oland and one with Toler) directed by Eugene Forde.

    COMMENT: A lively entry with a great cast that will particularly delight Harold Huber's vast legion of fans. Harold has almost as much dialogue as Charlie himself in this one. In fact, all the players deliver solidly with the one notable exception of the player who is finally unmasked as the killer. Oddly, said player is happily convincing up to that moment but is then totally unable to strike the right murderous attitudes. Fortunately, the rest of the cast line-up more than compensates for this lapse, particularly Louise Henry (a charmingly vivacious catalyst), Joan Woodbury (who performs a torrid dance number with eye-catching dexterity), and the wonderfully perky heroine, Joan Marsh.

    Director Forde's staging varies from happily out-of-the-box (the cortege of welcoming police cars speeding off to the blaring strains of "Chinatown, My Chinatown"), to the reasonably stylish (Miss Woodbury versus the camera hounds) to the inconspicuously incompetent (a couple of wrong angles here and there that edit none too smoothly).

    As for the mystery itself, it's not only quite intriguing but fast paced and most lavishly (by "B"-picture standards) presented. Harry Jackson's lustrous photography deserves a special commendation.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Oakland has been part of studios of Charlie Chan and there no today remake because no Asian directors charge of show today in Hawaii. Good thing Hawaii Five-00 should ended do more live actions. No whitewash Hollywood.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is fast, zippy, full of wisecracking reporters and cops, in the midst of whom Charlie Chan is a model of thoughtful decorum. The same can't be said for Number One Son who peeks through keyholes and rushes about frantically. It's the kind of movie in which New Yorkers get into tuxedos and evening dress and go to night spots with names like The Hottentot Club to watch a flamboyantly overdressed women with the dancing skills of a dog trained to stand on its hind legs prance around the floor to an avalanche of applause. Get a load of her, Boss! Say, she's a swell dish! I just made up those two remarks because the screenwriters were absent-minded enough to leave them out.

    A brassy woman knows too much about Mister Big but returns to New York and winds up dead, along with one or two others formerly living human beings. The plot has something to do with smuggling, too, and mixed-up hotel rooms. Oh, and theft -- if swiping a towel from a hotel is a crime, in which case you are all under arrest. I guess I am too because it occurs to me I have a towel from the Benjamin Franklin Hotel in Philadelphia hidden away with the rest of my loot.

    I haven't gotten to the climax yet so I don't know if Charlie Chan and Enumerated Son get to Broadway to see a show or not. It's half an hour before a serious infraction takes place but it's very busy before then anyway. It's hard to imagine that it gets much busier afterward.
  • Charlie (Warner Oland) and Number One Son (Keye Luke) investigate a murder at NYC's Hottentot Club. It's a standard whodunit, with half a dozen or so suspects.

    The problem with this film is that the story is rather slight. The film's runtime is only 68 minutes. And yet, most of the film's first half is filled with plot points that relate only in a peripheral way to the murder. There's the business about Charlie getting seasick aboard a ship. Later, Charlie and his son chop logic over a missing button. At the Hottentot, quite a bit of time is spent on a floor show consisting of a chorus line and a girl who engages in a lengthy dance. The murder investigation doesn't even begin until halfway into the film.

    The murder plot itself is only mildly interesting, and relates more to city mobsters than to anything having to do with "Broadway". Production design, however, is quite good, at least by Charlie Chan standards. The script is rather heavy on dialogue. And we have the usual Charlie Chan aphorisms.

    The identity of the murderer is not hard to figure out, owing to poor film direction. Some of Charlie's logic about who the murderer is, is not consistent with the film's plot. And there's very little suspense in this film.

    Except for the production design, especially at the Hottentot, I found this particular Charlie Chan mystery to be disappointing. The main weakness lies in a meager script that needed more character development and a larger, more complex story.
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