Upcoming Spy DVDs: More Charlie Chan
Fox and MGM have both had their turns with the character; now Warner Home Video will release three of the remaining Sidney Toler Charlie Chan movies made for Monogram in the 1940s, as well as the first of the Roland Winters Chan films, in the boxed set TCM Spotlight: Charlie Chan Collection. The Forties Chan movies featured espionage plots even more often than the Thirties ones, and this set is no exception. Dangerous Money (1946) is the most obvious spy film in the collection, as Chan investigates the death of an American agent who was searching for money and artwork stolen during World War II on a South Seas cruise to Samoa. Charlie (Toler) and his well intentioned but bumbling assistants, Number Two Son Jimmy (Victor Sen Young) and chauffeur Chattanooga Brown (Willie Best) even use spy gadgets in their investigation of a boatload of suspects. Other titles in the set include Dark Alibi, The Trap and Winters' debut The Chinese Ring. TCM Spotlight: Charlie Chan Collection, a 4-disc set, comes out June 8, 2010, with a suggested retail price of $39.98; naturally it's available for pre-order much cheaper on Amazon. The movies in this set follow the Fox sets and MGM's Chanthology chronologically, but confusingly this particular assortment of films is not chronological, and doesn't include all the remaining Toler titles. Still, it's nice (and a bit surprising) that these movies are getting the deluxe treatment and not coming out through Warner Archive! These TCM sets tend to feature a lot of good extras, though none have been announced yet for this one. Let's hope that all the remaining Monogram films (both Toler and Winters) follow in similar sets, and that maybe Warner has the same treatment in mind for the Saint films that they promised in the same web chat (years ago) in which they first announced these Chan titles.