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The Shanghai Cobra

Overview

Sad to say, The Shanghai Cobra -- one of the best of the Monogram Charlie Chan movies -- has arrived on DVD in somewhat less than perfect condition. In contrast to other series entries released on DVD by MGM/UA, the source print for this movie is a bit too dark, and has less detail than other films in the series show in their dark scenes -- and there are plenty of darkly lit scenes in this movie, especially in the first twenty minutes. Additionally, the full-frame image (1.33:1) is slightly soft, all indicating ...
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DVD New in new packaging. 1945 Run time: 64.

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Overview

Sad to say, The Shanghai Cobra -- one of the best of the Monogram Charlie Chan movies -- has arrived on DVD in somewhat less than perfect condition. In contrast to other series entries released on DVD by MGM/UA, the source print for this movie is a bit too dark, and has less detail than other films in the series show in their dark scenes -- and there are plenty of darkly lit scenes in this movie, especially in the first twenty minutes. Additionally, the full-frame image (1.33:1) is slightly soft, all indicating that something less than an original negative or fine-grain print was available as a source for this release. All of that said, this movie is still well worth seeing, because the mystery, involving an escaped killer from pre-war Shanghai, evidence destroyed in the first Japanese raid on the city, three bank employees and a police detective all killed with cobra venom, and a supply of government-owned radium, is excellent; the script by George Callahan and George Wallace Sayre has lots of twists and makes good use of then-modern technology, and even throws in a surprisingly direct threat to the renowned detective hero's well-being at the denouement, and the loose-ends are all tied up in 64 minutes of screen time under the superb handling by director Phil Karlson. There are also a very generous 16 chapters, accessible through a simple menu that opens automatically on start-up, and one only wishes there were a trailer as well.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Most of the Monogram Charlie Chan movies have poor critical reputations, but The Shanghai Cobra is a notable exception. With a complex mystery involving the deaths of three employees of a bank -- all from cobra venom -- and a master criminal on the run, and their possible connection to a priceless government radium supply, the movie never lets up the pace, from the eerily atmospheric opening to the rapid-fire, almost cliff hanger-style action in the denouement. Along the way are some interesting blind alleys, a few relatively unobtrusive comic moments involving Chan's assistants, his number-three son (Benson Fong) and chauffeur (Mantan Moreland), and some amazing little twists, including deadly twists on a then-current technology (that one would describe as interactive) and an unusually physically demanding series of threats for Sidney Toler's Chan to overcome in an action-filled climax. Additionally, the movie benefits from a colorful cast of supporting players, including James Flavin, Gene Roth, Roy Gordon, George Chandler, Paul Newlan, and Cyril Delevanti, many of whom are uncredited but totally worth watching.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/6/2004
  • UPC: 027616908360
  • Original Release: 1945
  • Rating:

  • Source: Mgm (Video & Dvd)
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Black & White
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:04:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Sidney Toler Charlie Chan
Joan Barclay Paula Webb
James B. Cardwell Ned Stewart
Walter Fenner Inspector Harry Davis
James Flavin Jarvis
Benson Fong Tommy Chan
Mantan Moreland Birmingham Brown
Addison Richards Jan Van Horn, John Adams
George Chandler Short Order Cook
Joe Devlin Taylor
Roy Gordon Walter Fletcher
Arthur Loft Bradford Harris/Hume
Paul Newlan Bank Guard
Gene Roth Morgan
Janet Warren Lorraine
Technical Credits
Phil Karlson Director
James S. Burkett Producer
George Callahan Screenwriter
Vincent J. Farrar Cinematographer
Ace Herman Editor
Edward Kay Musical Direction/Supervision
George Wallace Sayre Screenwriter
Vin Taylor Production Designer, Set Decoration/Design
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Title/A Rainy Night [:08]
2. Calling Card [6:25]
3. Remembering Shanghai [1:28]
4. Vaulted Interest [3:31]
5. Miss Know-it-All [5:14]
6. At the Apex [1:38]
7. Suspicious Minds [1:48]
8. Clearing the Detective [2:56]
9. Last Call [2:27]
10. "No U-Turn" [1:46]
11. Snake Bites [8:18]
12. The Launderette [1:47]
13. Late-Night Transactions [3:21]
14. Juke Joint [3:29]
15. "It's Morse Code" [5:51]
16. Banking Hours/End Credits [10:23]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Subtitles
      English
      Français
      Español
      None
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2002

    Cobra Venom Is The Weapon

    The killer uses venom from a cobra to eliminate his victims in this film. Sidney Toler plays Chan and the cast includes Benson Fong as Tommie Chan and Manton Moreland in the role of Birmingham Brown. Fong and Moreland are really quite good as a comic team. George Callahan and George Wallace Sayre handle the screen play. THE SHAGHAI COBRA is one of the better entries in the Chan series.

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