Chinese Parrot (1927)

Run Time - 65 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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This "lost" film would be especially valuable to see again, if only for two reasons: It was the second American effort of German director Paul Leni (of Cat and the Canary), and it represented the second screen appearance of Earl Derr Biggers' celebrated oriental sleuth, Charlie Chan. The plot is motivated by a pearl necklace, which has caused the death and/or ruination of all its owners. Disguised as a servant, Honolulu detective Chan (played by Japanese actor Sojin) delivers the pearls to his client -- who is promptly killed. Retaining his "hired help" guise, Chan snoops around the dead man's estate, hoping that one of the guests will reveal himself (or herself) as the murderer. Providing the vital clue in this instance is the titular Chinese parrot, who can understand Chinese and translate it into English! Anna May Wong appears briefly in the opening sequences as a hootchy-kootchy dancer who is murdered just before delivering an important bit of information to Mr. Chan. The Chinese Parrot was remade in 1934 as Charlie Chan's Courage --which, like its predecessor, apparently no longer exists.

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Keywords

client, curse, death, detective, disguise, impersonation, investigation, murder, necklace, parrot, servant