Charlie Chan in Reno

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
German title Charlie Chan in Reno
Original title Charlie Chan in Reno
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1939
length 71 minutes
Director Norman Foster
script Frances Hyland
Albert Ray
Philip Wylie (Original Story)
production John Stone
music Samuel Kaylin
camera Virgil Miller
cut Fred Albert

Charlie Chan in Reno is a 1939 Norman Foster directed crime film about a case of Charlie Chan , a Chinese-born police officer invented by Earl Derr Biggers . The film, which was based on the original story Death Makes a Decree by Philip Wylie , was produced by 20th Century Fox with Sidney Toler in the title role and Ricardo Cortez and Phyllis Brooks in other leading roles.

Chan investigates with the assistance of his "son # 2" Jimmy Chan. The film is about Mary Whitman coming to Reno to apply for a divorce from her husband Curtis Whitman. While there, she is arrested on suspicion of murdering another guest at her hotel. The hotel is an establishment that specializes in hosting people waiting for their divorce to be finalized. There are numerous other people at the hotel who strongly disliked the victim. At the request of Mary Whitman's separated husband, who is a friend of Charlie Chan's, the detective travels from his home in Honolulu to investigate the murder.


Mary Whitman arrives at the Sierra Hotel in Reno to establish the six weeks necessary to seek divorce from her husband Curtis Whitman. She meets Jeanne Bently, who claims she will be the next Mrs. Whitman. When Jeanne Bently taunts the defenseless Mary and insults her former partner, Wally Burke, the hotel owners Mrs. Russell tells her to leave the hotel. Before she has finished packing, Jeanne Bentley is murdered and Mary Whitman is accused of the crime.

In Honolulu, Mary Whitman's arrest leads her husband Curtis Whitman to seek the help of his old friend Charlie Chan. Chan agrees without hesitation and they both travel to the mainland in a Boeing 314 . Chan escorts Whitman to Reno, where they meet Sheriff "Tombstone" Fletcher, a bumbling police officer who has investigated the case and who is convinced that Mary Whitman is guilty of the murder. After Mary Whitman's release from prison for lack of evidence is obtained, Chan visits the room where the murder took place and meets Dr. Ainsley. Ainsley claims that he would be looking for the money Jeanne Bentley won the night she was murdered. He also alleges that Wally Burke murdered Jeanne Bentley for her gain. A search by Chan and his "son number 2" Jimmy Chan unearths a scrapbook that belonged to Jeanne Bently and in which the pages for the years 1935 and 1936 are missing. When he notices that a certain article is neatly trimmed, Chan suspects that the same scissors were used to murder Jeanne Bentley, as no murder weapon could be found. Next, the detective notices dry mud on the victim's boots. An examination of the boots reveals traces of copper and clay that can only be found in one place - an abandoned mine outside the city.

In the late evening, Chan visits the mine and finds engineering tools that belong to George Bentley, the murdered woman's husband. Bently jumps on Chan in the dark and escapes after a brief scuffle. However, he is later arrested. Sheriff Fletcher accuses him of murder, but Chan is not convinced of his guilt.

Chan later notices chemical burns on the sleeve of the dress worn by Mary Whitman the night Jeanne Bently was murdered. He also finds similar burns on the carpet of Jeanne Bentley's hotel room near where she was found dead. Chan assigns the acid to Dr. Ainsley, whereupon the investigation against him intensifies after Police Chief King finds out that Jeanne Bentley has signed sizable checks in favor of Ainsley. King also reveals that the missing scrapbook pages concern Jeanne Bentley's previous marriage to Mrs. Russell's late husband, whose death was followed by Dr. Ainsley was certified.

Before Mrs. Russell can be questioned, she is strangled and found unconscious. The doctor examining them is Dr. Ainsley just about to give her an injection with a syringe. Charlie Chan, immediately aware of the grave danger she is in, rushes into Mrs. Russell's room and stops the doctor while Jimmy grabs the syringe that contains a deadly poison.

Chan then gathered all the suspects and announced that Jeanne Bentley would be Dr. Ainsley had paid to keep him from telling about the murder of Russell. The detective further explains that he found the missing money in Ainsley's room. Before he can continue, Vivian Wells, the hotel's social director, who is in love with Ainsley, explains that Dr. Ainsley is innocent. It is revealed through Vivian Wells that Mrs. Russell had walked into Jeanne Bentley's room at the time of the murder. Mrs. Russell then confesses that she went into Jeanne's room to disfigure it with nitric acid because of the way she treated Mary Whitman. She explains that she didn't want Jeanne Bentley to destroy Mary Whitman's life in the same way that Jeanne destroyed hers before. She also says that the acid was spilled during a scuffle, causing Mrs. Russell to flee. Chan then finds out with the help of Jimmy Chan that Vivian Wells has a burn on her arm, which shows that she murdered Jeanne Bentley during an argument after she had previously tried to disfigure it with acid.

Vivian Wells admits to having murdered Jeanne and explains that it was an accident and that she had no intention of harming her. She had entered Jeanne Bentley's room in a fit of jealousy after believing she saw Ainsley behind her back. Vivian Wells explains that the drunken and violent Jeanne attacked her and that she stabbed her with scissors in self-defense. When Vivian Wells is arrested, Chan explains that a jury will have to decide her fate. Dr. Ainsley is also arrested for the attempted murder of Mrs. Russell on fear that she would reveal his connection to Jeanne Bentley's murder of her first husband three years earlier.


The film was shot under the working title Death Makes a Decree , the title of the original artwork by Philip Wylie, and premiered in the United States on June 16, 1939. In 21 of 47 Charlie Chan films, Sidney Toler played three other actors as "Charlie Chan" who also played well-known criminalists: Ricardo Cortez as "Sam Spade" in The Maltese Falcon (1931), Morgan Conway as "Dick Tracy "In two films by RKO Pictures in the mid-1940s and Robert Lowery" Batman "in Batman and Robin (1949).

Of the cast, lead actress Phyllis Brooks previously starred in Charlie Chan in Honolulu (1938) and Pauline Moore was also seen in Charlie Chan at the Olympic Games and Charlie Chan on Treasure Island in other films in the series, as did Eddie Collins performed in Charlie Chan in Honolulu . In a supporting role as the night watchman, Hamilton MacFadden can be seen, who as director with Charlie Chan - Death is a Black Camel in 1931 directed the oldest still existing film in the series and one of the first films in which Warner Oland , Toler's predecessor as Charlie Chan who played detective.

Also in the crew worked numerous filmmakers who were also involved in other Chan films, such as producer John Stone, music director Samuel Kaylin, cameraman Virgil Miller, film editor Fred Allen, but also art director Richard Day , who won several Oscar for best Production design was awarded. Director Norman Foster, known for directing the Mr. Moto films with Peter Lorre , then shot two more Charlie Chan films.

Film bug

When Charlie Chan examines the police photos of Jeanne Bentley's corpse, they show her beauty mask tied around her head. However, the mask was previously removed by an employee before the police arrived in order to identify the victim.


As in the other films in the series, Charlie Chan emphasizes his work with quotes that are reminiscent of Chinese proverbs . The always polite and calm-looking Chan thanks him as usual with a “Thank you so much” ('Thank you so much'). In addition, his “contradiction, please!” ('Contradiction, please!') Often appears when he wants to express his differing views.

Chan's sayings in this film include:

  • “Words of welcome freeze when friend appears troubled”
  • "The man who can tell what a woman will or will not do is not yet born" ('Man yet to be born who can tell what woman will or will not do')
  • "It is difficult to believe something bad of those we love" ('Very difficult to believe ill of those we love')
  • "An ancient ancestor once said: 'Words cannot cook rice'" ('Ancient ancestor once say, "Words cannot cook rice"')
  • "Words of wisdom are often carved into gravestones" ('Tombstones often engraved with words of wisdom')
  • “Charming company turns a modest sandwich into a rich buffet” ('Charming company turn lowly sandwich into rich banquet')
  • "If you want to hear a wild bird sing, you mustn't put it in a cage" ('If want wild bird to sing, do not put him in cage')
  • "When searching for needle in haystack, haystack only sensible location 'is the haystack when looking for a needle in a haystack.
  • "Death is usually merciless" ('Death usually grim')
  • "Sometimes you have to hit the innocent to get the guilty into the trap" ('Sometimes must strike innocent to trap guilty')
  • "Praises are sweet in any language" ('Praise in any language very sweet')
  • "Time and analysis will tell"
  • "Sometimes women's tears are a very happy sign" ('Sometimes tears from woman very happy sign')

Web links