Charlie Chan at Treasure Island (1939)

72 or 74 mins | Drama | 8 September 1939

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HISTORY

According to HR news items and production charts, John Carradine and Joyce Compton were to be included in the cast of this film, but their participation in the completed picture is doubtful. A 19 Apr 1939 HR news item refers to the film as Charlie Chan at the World's Fair . The Golden Gate International Exposition, held on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay Feb 1939--Oct 1940, provided the backdrop for some of the picture's action. For more information on the series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry below for Charlie Chan Carries On ... More Less

According to HR news items and production charts, John Carradine and Joyce Compton were to be included in the cast of this film, but their participation in the completed picture is doubtful. A 19 Apr 1939 HR news item refers to the film as Charlie Chan at the World's Fair . The Golden Gate International Exposition, held on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay Feb 1939--Oct 1940, provided the backdrop for some of the picture's action. For more information on the series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry below for Charlie Chan Carries On . More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
12 Aug 1939.
---
Daily Variety
17 Aug 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
11 Sep 39
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Apr 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Apr 39
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Apr 39
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Apr 39
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
13 May 39
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Aug 39
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
17 Aug 39
p. 7.
Motion Picture Herald
5 Aug 39
p. 86.
Motion Picture Herald
26 Aug 39
p. 55.
New York Times
1 Sep 39
p. 15.
Variety
23 Aug 39
p. 20.
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Title:
Charlie Chan at the World's Fair
Release Date:
8 September 1939
Production Date:
17 April--13 May 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
8 September 1939
Copyright Number:
LP9300
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA High Fidelity Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
72 or 74
Length(in feet):
6,633
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5321
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Detective Charlie Chan is accompanying his son Jimmy on the China Clipper from Hawaii to San Francisco, where Jimmy attends college. Also on the plane is Chan's friend, writer Paul Essex, who has just finished a mystery novel about a fake mystic. Paul is pestered by Thomas Gregory, an insurance actuary, who slyly reads a disturbing radiogram that Paul receives. When the plane lands, the passengers discover that Paul has committed suicide. Chan reads the radiogram, which warns of disaster if Zodiac obligations are ignored, then tells Paul's wife Stella about the tragedy. Gregory steals Paul's briefcase, which contains the manuscript, and while Jimmy follows Gregory, Chan goes to police headquarters. There he is greeted by Chief J. J. Kilvaine and introduced to reporter Pete Lewis and magician Rhadini. Rhadini, who operates a magic theater on Treasure Island, and Pete explain that they are on a crusade to expose fake mediums. Their primary target is Dr. Zodiac, whom they suspect is behind the suicides of three of his clients. Chan believes that Paul is the fourth such suicide and states that a suicide induced by blackmail is really murder. Chan, Pete and Rhadini go to Zodiac's mansion and ask to consult with the heavily-masked spiritualist. While Pete and Rhadini proclaim that Zodiac is a fake, Chan cautions that they must be careful because of Zodiac's obvious mental delusions. Later, Chan attends a party Rhadini hosts in honor of San Francisco's Golden Gate International Exposition, where he is fascinated by the mindreading abilities of Eve Cairo, who is Rhadini's assistant and Pete's girl friend. After the party, Chan, Jimmy, Rhadini ... +


Detective Charlie Chan is accompanying his son Jimmy on the China Clipper from Hawaii to San Francisco, where Jimmy attends college. Also on the plane is Chan's friend, writer Paul Essex, who has just finished a mystery novel about a fake mystic. Paul is pestered by Thomas Gregory, an insurance actuary, who slyly reads a disturbing radiogram that Paul receives. When the plane lands, the passengers discover that Paul has committed suicide. Chan reads the radiogram, which warns of disaster if Zodiac obligations are ignored, then tells Paul's wife Stella about the tragedy. Gregory steals Paul's briefcase, which contains the manuscript, and while Jimmy follows Gregory, Chan goes to police headquarters. There he is greeted by Chief J. J. Kilvaine and introduced to reporter Pete Lewis and magician Rhadini. Rhadini, who operates a magic theater on Treasure Island, and Pete explain that they are on a crusade to expose fake mediums. Their primary target is Dr. Zodiac, whom they suspect is behind the suicides of three of his clients. Chan believes that Paul is the fourth such suicide and states that a suicide induced by blackmail is really murder. Chan, Pete and Rhadini go to Zodiac's mansion and ask to consult with the heavily-masked spiritualist. While Pete and Rhadini proclaim that Zodiac is a fake, Chan cautions that they must be careful because of Zodiac's obvious mental delusions. Later, Chan attends a party Rhadini hosts in honor of San Francisco's Golden Gate International Exposition, where he is fascinated by the mindreading abilities of Eve Cairo, who is Rhadini's assistant and Pete's girl friend. After the party, Chan, Jimmy, Rhadini and Pete return to Zodiac's mansion and find the information with which he has been blackmailing his clients. Chan burns the files, and the next day decides to use Zodiac's vanity to trap him. Rhadini issues a public challenge to Zodiac to subject himself to examination at his theater. Zodiac comes to the theater, but while Rhadini is levitating Eve, the man in the Zodiac mask is murdered and revealed to be Abdul, the medium's servant. Kilvaine then states that Gregory is actually Stewart Salzbury, an insurance detective investigating the suicides, and they offer to help recreate the levitating trick to determine who killed Abdul. When Rhadini performs the act again, he is stabbed in the shoulder. Chan then employs Eve's mindreading ability to help identify the culprit, and while he is questioning her, a hand with a gun appears. The gunman is revealed to be Rhadini, who, as the real Zodiac, had Abdul pose as Zodiac to fool the police into believing that he was dead. Chan demonstrates how Rhadini used his magic wand as a blowgun to kill Abdul and then wounded himself to deflect suspicion. After Rhadini is arrested, Chan smiles as Jimmy falls through a secret trapdoor and releases a pigeon. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.