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The Feathered Serpent

USA 1948
produced by
James S.Burkett for Monogram
directed by William Beaudine
starring Roland Winters, Keye Luke, Mantan Moreland, Victor Sen Yung, Carol Forman, Robert Livingston, Nils Asther, Beverly Jons, Martin Garralaga, George J.Lewis, Leslie Denison, Erville Alderson, Charles Stevens, Juan Duval, Fred Cordova, Frank Leyva, Jay Silverheels
screenplay by Oliver Drake, based on his screenplay for Riders of the Whistling Skull, and based on characters created by Earl Derr Biggers

Charlie Chan, Charlie Chan (Roland Winters), Number One Son Lee Chan, Charlie Chan at Monogram

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Actually, Charlie Chan (Roland Witners), his number one (Keye Luke) and number two sons (Victor Sen Yung) and his driver Birmingham Brown (Mantan Moreland) are on their way to Mexico City for a vacation, but then they stumble upon a half-dead man (Erville Alderson) dragging himself through the desert, take him to the next town to drop him off at the doctor, meet up with an expedition that was going to search for him and his colleague, professor Farnsworth (Leslie Denison) - and then the man Chan and company have picked up is killed right under their noses ... Chan of course decides for him and his party to join the expedition, especially since he suspects the murderer to be one of the participants.

The expedition is set to search for professor Farnsworth who in turn was searching an ancient Aztec temple, and is made up of Farnsworth's sister Joan (Beverly Jons), her fiancé professor Stanley (Robert Livingston), her best friend Sonia (Carol Froman), Stanley's colleague professor Evans (Nils Asther), singing cook Pedro (Martin Garralaga), and guide Manuel (Charles Stevens).

At first, the expedition doesn't come up with anything of substance, but then one night Chan secretly follows guide Manuel to a clearing where he just disappears, and is later almost killed for his efforts, only to be saved by cook Pedro, who's actually an undercover agent for the Mexican police.

Manuel by the way is actually part of a ring of smugglers who have found the Aztec temple and want to steal its treasures before the gouvernment can lay a claim on it, but thgey can't find the temple's entrance, which is why they hold professor Farnsworth. The leader of this ring is professor Stanley, and their hideout is a secret cave at the clearing where Chan has lost Manuel.

The next day, Chan and his clan investigate the clearing further and somehow Birmingham stumbles into the secret cave and is made the smugglers' ring's prisoner. Stanley meanwhile takes his own fiancée Joan hostage to finally force the secret of the temple's entrance out of Farnsworth - but somehow in the end Chan and his sons manage to make their way into the cave, and witht he help of police agent Pedro and his men, they manage to set a few wrongs right ...

 

And interesting Charlie Chan film for a number of reasons:

a) it marks the return of Number One Son Keye Luke after a hiatus of a decade,

b) it is the only film that features both of Chan's most popular and most persistent sons Keye Luke and Victor Sen Yung,

and c) because it was based on a very unusual source, the Three Mesquiteers-western Riders of the Whistling Skull from 1937 - in which Robert Livingston, the villain of this film, played one of the good guys.

Of further interest might be that it is one of the very few Charlie Chan-films that reveals its killer very early on (to the audience at least), about halfway through the film, rather than pulling him out of the hat in the last minute.

All of this of course says very little about the actual quality of the movie in hand - and what can I say, The Feathered Serpent might not exactly be a great film, not even within the Charlie Chan-series, but it's an ok crime-yarn with touches of adventure that moves along swiftly enough to entertain and is garnered with enough comedy so typical for the series as such.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner

 

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