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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Behind That Curtain (1929)



Reviews and Comments

Fans of Charlie Chan may be caught off-guard by this film, the earliest surviving Charlie Chan mystery. It predates the series' popular success and lacks all the usual trademarks. Even the story structure is unfamiliar: the murderer is unmasked early, and Charlie Chan doesn't show up until the end.

It's obvious the filmmakers of this early talkie were still figuring out how to use sound. Few of the actors look comfortable reciting lines and most employ the kind of exaggerated body language that's at home only in the heightened surreality of silent film. The movie is interesting only for the early portrayal of the Charlie Chan character.

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