Roland Winters in The Golden Eye (1948)

     While a few actors played Charlie Chan before Warner Oland and a few portrayed Inspector Chan after Roland Winters, the main body of Earl Derr Biggers’ Charlie Chan film adaptations occurred between 1931 to 1949.  Warner Oland began playing Charlie Chan in The Black Camel (1931).

     After his death, Sidney Toler started playing the role of Charlie Chan in the 1938 film, Charlie Chan in Honolulu.  Sidney Toler portrayed Inspector Chan longer than any other actor.  He made twenty-two Charlie Chan films.  Toler made eleven Charlie Chan films with Twentieth Century – Fox and eleven films with Monogram Pictures.

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Roland Winters as Inspector Charlie Chan from the Public Domain

     After Sidney Toler’s death, Roland Winters took over the role for six more Monogram films.  Roland Winters played Inspector Chan for the first time in The Chinese Ring (1947)The Chinese Ring is almost an exact reproduction of Mr. Wong in Chinatown (1940),  Both screen plays were written by W. Scott Darling.

     The Golden Eye (1948) is the best of the Charlie Chan films starring Roland Winters as Inspector Chan.  Mr. Manning, a western mine owner, has contacted his old friend, a curio dealer in San Francisco, because he believes someone is trying to kill him.  The curio dealer contacts his old friend Charlie Chan.

     Charlie Chan travels to the miner’s ranch with No. 3 son Tommy, played by Victor Sen Yung (who was No. 2 son Jimmy in the Sidney Toler series), and assistant Birmingham Brown, played by Mantan Moreland.  Inspector Chan also meets his old friend “Lt. Mike”.  Lt. Mike is investigating the crooked activities at the Golden Eye Mine also.

     The western setting is a unique aspect to this film particularly when Tommy and Birmingham dress to try and fit in.  The action moves at a deliberate pace including some interesting scenes from the mine.  This film is one of two Roland Winter’s films that are in the public domain.

     You can watch the 69 minute movie for free on YouTube by clicking here.

     If you found this post interesting, you may also like other Charlie Chan posts.

     Which actor performed your favorite adaptation of Earl Derr Biggers’ character?  Why do you feel that way?  You can leave a comment or ask a question about this or any post on my Facebook pageTwitter profile and Google+ page.

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