Behind That Curtain (1929)

Genres - Crime, Drama, Mystery, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Thriller, Detective Film, Melodrama  |   Run Time - 91 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Irving Cummings was a good choice to direct this third Charlie Chan feature, the first to use sound, as he had previously made the first all-talking picture of any kind, In Old Arizona (also 1929). Chan fans may be disappointed in this globe-trotting mystery, however, as the detective (played by Korean actor E.L. Park) only appears in a few scenes. The story begins with a murder in London and the prime suspect is Colonel John Beetham (Warner Baxter), who is hiding pretty heiress Eve Mannering (Lois Moran) from her evil, philandering husband Eric Durand (Philip Strange). The action goes from England to Persia to India and finally ends up in San Francisco, where Chan prevents the golddigging Durand -- whom Eve has left for good -- from killing Beetham. Gilbert Emery, who plays a dedicated Scotland Yard detective, was originally envisioned as a big matinee idol, but was eventually relegated to thankless roles such as the one he plays here. The film is more noteworthy for its introduction of Boris Karloff to sound features, in a small role as a servant from Sudan who mutters inscrutable nonsense about the whims of the desert. The 20th Century Fox series began with 1928's The Chinese Parrot, starring another Asian performer (Sojin) as Chan, before Swedish actor Warner Oland took over the role in Charlie Chan Carries On and The Black Camel (both 1931), playing the unflappable detective until his death in 1938.

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con/scam, detective, homecoming, husband, killing, love, love-triangle, Scotland-Yard, scoundrel, street