When a mysterious woman comes to see Charlie Chan at his home but is murdered before he can speak to her it sets him off on a search for who she was and why she had come to see him. Quickly he realizes from her ring that she was from a powerful family and after some digging, he discovers that she was in San Francisco to purchase some airplanes for her brother’s army. Being neutral this had to be done on the down low and there is a ship waiting to secret the airplanes out of the country. The only issue with this is that there aren’t nor were there ever any planes. Someone was stealing her money, but they didn’t all of it yet. So then who killed the woman and where is the rest of the cash? That is what Chan has to sort out before it is too late to catch the killers.
This is actor Roland Winters first outing as the character and I have to say he isn’t my favorite. He would get more comfortable in the role but here it seems very stiff, and he lacks the warmth of Sidney Toler. I was also disappointed in the fact that Tommy and Birmingham Brown felt like they were shoehorned in. They aren’t given a lot to do which is disappointing given how much the previous entries relied on their antics to keep things moving and entertaining. They feel sidelined and with Winters’ lackluster performance they were needed greatly.
I know that I like some of the later Winters’ Charlie Chan entries much better than The Chinese Ring, but I’m finding it very hard to recommend this one. Honestly this is probably only for those completists that need to see them all. I promise I’ll cover some much better flicks later in the mystery review marathon.
© Copyright 2022 John Shatzer