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.