Charlie Chan Collection, Vol. 5

Charlie Chan in Panama (1940)      Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise (1940)

Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum (1940)      Murder Over New York (1940)

Dead Men Tell (1941)      Charlie Chan in Rio (1941)      Castle in the Desert (1942)


Fans of detective Charlie Chan's suspenseful mysteries and fortune cookie wisdom will find joy as they dodge bullets with some of the Chinese policeman's most thrilling and dangerous cases. A staple of 30s and 40s Hollywood, Charlie Chan's profound wit and lighthearted counsel in the face of the criminal element has made him a cinematic icon, transcending generations and stereotypes to become one of film's most beloved crime-solvers. Four of Charlie Chan's most-ingenious cases make their DVD debut in The Charlie Chan Collection “Volume Five“ starring the 'successor' Sidney Toler.


Charlie Chan In Panama
Ingenious crime solver Charlie Chan is busily working undercover in the volatile wartime region of Panama — rife with spies and conspirators — when he uncovers a sinister plot to blow up the Panama Canal and destroy the U.S. naval fleet!

Charlie Chan’s Murder Cruise
When a trusted colleague requests assistance in investigating a murder on a high-society pleasure cruise, unflappable sleuth Charlie Chan is all too happy to help. But when his friend also turns up dead, Chan must take matters into his own hands!

Charlie Chan At The Wax Museum
When a convicted murderer, brought to justice by Charlie Chan himself, escapes into the night, the resourceful Chan tracks the killer to a mysterious Wax Museum, whose proprietor specializes in giving new faces to those who want to escape their past.

Murder Over New York
While Charlie Chan and his Number Two Son, Jimmy, are on vacation in the Big Apple, they find themselves in the middle of a murder investigation. As more bodies fall, Chan must find a way to bring the evildoers to justice before more lives are lost!

Dead Men Tell
In this seafaring thrill-ride that “will be relished by Chan fans” (Variety), the unflappable sleuth teams up with Number Two Son, Jimmy, to solve a mystery that takes place aboard a ship bound for a treasure hunt.

Charlie Chan In Rio
Adventure and intrigue travel south of the Equator, as the incomparable international sleuth Charlie Chan--with a little help from Number Two Son, Jimmy Chan-- must crack the mystery of a beautiful nightclub singer who turns up dead after announcing her plans to elope with a wealthy American playboy.

Castle In The Desert
Wise and inscrutable Charlie Chan is summoned to a mysterious, secluded castle deep in California’s Mojave Desert, to investigate a brutal murder that may have been committed by a descendant of the infamous Borgia family.


Theatrical Releases: Various from 1940 - 1942

  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover


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DVDBeaver whole-heartedly recommend the past four Fox Charlie Chan Boxsets:


Distribution 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC
Time: Over 7 hrs. total on four discs (three are dual-sided)
Audio English (original mono)
Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 1.33 

Edition Details:

• Various trailers and Galleries (Advertising, Behind the Scenes, Portraits, Productions)
• The Era of Chan, a 30 minute documentary celebrating the legacy of the Chan series at Fox

DVD Release Date: September 16th, 2008

4 standard Keep Cases inside a cardboard box
Chapters: various



NOTE: Although the main features of this boxset are housed in individual keep cases (see images below) they are not sold separately at this time and can only be obtained in the Fox Charlie Chan Collection Volume 5 Boxset. They have been transferred in the NTSC standard, coded for Region 1 with original mono audio and removable subtitles in English, French or Spanish. All are single layered and three of the discs are double-sided. Specifically:

Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise - single-layered (one side) and Charlie Chan in Panama single-layered (opposite side.)

Murder Over New York - single-layered (one side) and Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum single-layered (opposite side.)

Dead Men Tell - single-layered (one side) and Charlie Chan in Rio - single-layered (opposite side.)

Castle in the Desert - single-layered.

Image: Being later films these transfers may look the best of all the Fox Chan Series. Unfortunately this caveat;

starts three of the features although when the damage is more demonstrative - it is usually for a very brief period. Dead Men Tell is the standout looking extremely sharp in spots and the rest are all fairly consistent with very strong grayscale and contrast . Minor noise obviously exists but I never found it overly impinging upon my viewing enjoyment. Digital restoration (Fox spent over $2 million restoring all of their Chan and Mr. Moto films) greatly appears to have benefited the appearance of these seven Toler-Chan films. Even though none of the seven are dual-layered they still look exceptionally strong considering their age of over 65 years. I continued my love affair with this vintage cinema. The films in this boxset continue to export the charismatic Chan philosophy - and Toler does a marvelous job helping us forget the iconic Warner Oland.   

Audio - Decent with very minimal hiss (no dropouts or pops) and overall dialogue remains consistent and clear. There are original mono tracks and no option for stereo (as with some of the other Chan boxsets). Comparatively speaking it may be a at about the same level as the video quality - it is usually that consistent and strong.

Extras - Unfortunately, a bit sparse with no commentaries and only one featurette. The Era of Chan is a 30 minute documentary celebrating the legacy of the Chan series at Fox. Focusing on the series’ final seven films and the talents behind them, this piece gives an overview of the series’ success and how the Chan character rose to the status of icon, influencing many screen detectives to come. There are also stills galleries and trailers. the lack of supplemental material should be balanced by the fact we get a whopping seven Chan films in this collection.

Well, this completes the Fox Chan Series. I can easily watch three of these consecutively - preferably late and night - it allows me to nostalgically sink right the plot and characterizations. Even this being the end of the series - the films are surprisingly strong and well crafted. I quite enjoyed "Charlie Chan In Panama" although they all have that inscrutable Chan charm. This is an easy must-own for fans of Charlie Chan - this set has great value. Some of the very best of the series exporting vintage mystery cinema at its finest.    

Gary W. Tooze

DVD Menus

Extra Documentary:


Screen Captures


Charlie Chan in Panama (1940)




Screen Captures


Charlie Chan's Murder Cruise (1940)




Screen Captures


Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum (1940)




Screen Captures


Murder Over New York (1940)




Screen Captures


Dead Men Tell (1941)




Screen Captures


Charlie Chan in Rio (1941)




Screen Captures


Castle in the Desert (1942)



DVD Box Cover


CLICK to order from:


DVDBeaver whole-heartedly recommend the past four Fox Charlie Chan Boxsets:


Distribution 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC


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