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The New Adventures of Charlie Chan - Your Money or Your Wife

episode 1

USA 1957
produced by
Sidney Marshall, Leon Fromkess (executive) for Vision Productions/TPA
directed by Charles F.Haas
starring J. Carrol Naish, Lowell Gilmore, Virginia Gregg, Dayton Lummis, Liam Sullivan, Howard Culver
story by Brock Williams, screenplay by Richard Grey, based on a character created by Earl Derr Biggers

New Adventures of Charlie Chan, Charlie Chan

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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After an attempt on his life, businessman Kramer (Lowell Gilmore) hires Charlie Chan (J.Carrol Naish) to investigate. The case takes an unexpected turn rather immediately though when Kramer and Charlie find Kramer's wife Marcia gone, kidnapped. Charlie picks a trail up almost immediately that leads to a painter, Patton (Liam Sullivan), who Kramer's secretary Ms Parsons (Virginia Gregg) tells Chan Marcia had an affair with. Charlie can't find anything that ties Patton to the case though. Then a tape from the kidnapped Marcia is found, urging her husband to pay up ... but Charlie is quick to find out the tape was actually recorded on Kramer's recorder, which means the whole thing must have been an inside job by Marcia and ...

At the money handover, Chan can identify Patton as the one receiving the money, but when he follows him to his hideout he ultimately finds him leaning over Marcia's dead body. For the police, it's clear that he murdered Marcia, and Kramer makes Chan's interference responsible for her death ... until it's found out that she was actually murdered hours before Chan found her and even before he actually appeared on the scene - which puts Patton's guilt into serious doubt - after all,w hy would he return to Marcia's corpse after he had received the money instead of hightailing it?

Chan tells both Kramer and his secretary he expects to find some clues to the identity of the real killer in the bungalow where Marcia's body was found - and both swallow the bait. In the end, it's revealed that it was Ms Parsons who killed Marcia because she was in love with her boss and thought Marcia was ruining him, but now Kramer wanted to kill Ms Parsons for killing the love of his life - fortunately though, Chan manages to interfere just in time to save Ms Parsons' life but also see to it that she gets her just desserts.


For a half hour television murder mystery from the 1950's, this first episode of The New Adventures of Charlie Chan doesn't look too bad (even if J.Carrol Naish doesn't look like much of a Chinaman), it's well-scripted, well-paced, sombre in tone and slick in direction. However, while this episode has much going for it, it also fails to properly convince, basically because it's not all that much of a Charlie Chan-story, all the typical trademarks (however annoying they might be at times) are sadly missing, from Chan's endless "excuse please"s to his constant use of Chinese proverbs to all the comedy that made the film series (not so much the books of course) so memorable. Chan as he is in this could just be whoever of whatever nationality or race - which might be more politically correct than earlier depictions, but a whole lot less fun!


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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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


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
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!!!


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