Monday, January 25, 2021

Mystery Monday: Charlie Chan Movies

Mystery Monday: Charlie Chan Movies 
During the 1930s and 1940s, hundreds of mystery, thriller, and noir crime dramas were produced to the delight of the movie-going public. More than a few of the films were either based on or screen adaptations of novels from well-known authors such as S.S. Van Dine, Dashiell Hammett, Graham Greene, Hugh Cleveland, Brett Halliday, and others. 
Only six novels featuring Honolulu-based detective Charlie Chan 
were written by Earl Derr Biggers between 1925 and 1932, but almost fifty movies were produced between 1926 and 1949, featuring over a dozen actors playing the title character. In an interview conducted years later, Biggers said he’d been inspired to add a Chinese-American police officer to his book after reading about two Hawaiian detectives in the newspaper. Saying he disliked the stereotypes he found in California, he specifically conceived the character as an alternative: “Sinister and wicked Chinese are old stuff, but an amiable Chinese on the side of law and order has never been used.” 
Despite the use of Asian actors for supporting roles such as his family members, Chan was always played by a Caucasian actor. The films met with widespread success with Spanish-language and Chinese-language versions being shown overseas. Between 1932 and 1948, Charlie Chan episodes could be heard on the radio several times a week. Chan also made his way into comic books from 1938 to 1942, being dropped after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. A board game, The Great Charlie Chan Detective Mystery Game (1937) and The Charlie Chan Card Game (1939) were also produced for a short time. 
Unsurprisingly, the character of Charlie Chan has been the subject of controversy. Some scholars claim the character is a positive role model, while others feel he is an offensive stereotype. One critic, John Soister, states that Chan is both, going on to say that when Biggers created the character, “he offered a unique alternative to stereotypical evil Chinamen, a man who was at the same time sufficiently accommodating in personality, unthreatening in demeanor, and removed from his Asian homeland to quell any underlying xenophobia.” 
Biggers published a handful of other novels and short stories, but none met with the success of his Charlie Chan series. 
Have you ever seen a Charlie Chan flick? 

About Vanessa's Replacement Valentine:

She’s running toward the future. He can’t let go of the past. Will these two hurting souls experience love in the present? 
Engaged to be married as part of a plan to regain the wealth her family lost during the War Between the States, Vanessa Randolph finds her fiancé in the arms of another woman weeks before the wedding. Money holds no allure for her, so rather than allow her parents to set her up with another rich bachelor she decides to become a mail-order bride. Life in Green Bay, Wisconsin seems to hold all the pieces of a fresh start until she discovers her prospective groom was a Union spy and targeted her parents during one of his investigations. Is her heart safe with any man? 
Eight years have elapsed since the Civil War ended, and Miles Andersen has almost managed to put the memories of those difficult years behind him. He’s finally ready to settle down, but the women in town are only interested in his money. A mail-order bride seems to be the answer until the woman who arrives brings the past crashing into the present. 

Can two wounded hearts find healing in the face of doubt, disappointment, and distrust?

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