Charlie Chan in City in Darkness

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Charlie Chan in City in Darkness
Charlie Chan in City in Darkness FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Herbert I. Leeds
Written by Ladislas Fodor (play)
Gina Kaus (play)
Robert Ellis
Helen Logan
Starring Sidney Toler
Lynn Bari
Richard Clarke
Distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox
Release date
  • November 15, 1939 (1939-11-15)
Running time
75 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Charlie Chan in City in Darkness, also titled City in Darkness, is a 1939 mystery film starring Sidney Toler in his fourth performance as detective Charlie Chan.


While visiting Prefect of Police Romaine (C. Henry Gordon) in Paris, France, during the Czech annexation crisis in September 1938, Charlie Chan (Sidney Toler) is left to guide Romaine's bumbling godson, Police Inspector Marcel Spivak (Harold Huber), during a blackout. The two are called to the home of Petroff (Douglass Dumbrille), an arms dealer who has been murdered. Spivak suspects his butler, Antoine (Pedro de Cordoba), but spy Charlotte Ronnell (Dorothy Tree) is spotted fleeing the residence. Due to a chance encounter earlier, Chan realizes that local woman Marie Dubon (Lynn Bari) is involved, and the two detectives head to her hotel. Charlie learns that Dubon was helping her husband, Tony Madero (Richard Clarke), clear his name after Petroff accused him of smuggling. Following a clue in Dubon's room, Chan interrogates counterfeitor Louis Santelle (Leo G. Carroll). Returning to the Petroff household, Chan and Spivak track down burglars Lola (Barbara Leonard), Max (Louis Mercier), and Alex (George Davis) (who had broken into Petroff's house just before the murder) before interrogating Petroff's business partner, Belescu (Noel Madison).

After nearly being killed by Santelle, Charlie realizes that three clues are the key to the case: A dropped franc coin, a wooden leg, and a telephone left off the hook. After Belescu is shot, Chan and Spivak chase Ronnell to Le Bourget Airport. But her plane crashes during takeoff and she dies. Chan returns to police headquarters, and reveals that Antoine (a French patriot) killed Petroff after returning home early and discovering that Petroff was selling arms to Nazi Germany. Prefect Romaine says Antoine will likely stand trial for murder, but is likely to receive the Legion of Honour instead of the guillotine.


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