The House Without a Key (1926)

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The enterprising Pathé company brought pulp writer Earl Derr Biggers' famous Hawaiian detective Charlie Chan to the screen in this ten-chapter action serial based loosely on Biggers' first novel. The nephew (Walter Miller) of two feuding brothers comes into a treasure chest that may prove one of them guilty of a crime. But before John Quincy Winterclip can destroy the evidence, the trunk is stolen by persons unknown. The remaining nine chapters depict how Winterclip and the daughter of one of the brothers, Carry Egan (Allene Ray), are constantly thwarted in their efforts to regain possession of the chest, the true culprit of the crime finally identified in chapter ten, aptly entitled "The Culprit." More a showcase for the popular team of Ray and Miller, this sadly lost serial apparently paid scant attention to Charlie Chan himself, who was portrayed in this his first screen appearance by Japanese actor George Kuwa. Spencer Gordon Bennet directed from Frank Leon Smith's screenplay.