The Game’s Afoot! Famous Detectives Leave Their Mark

Famous fictional detectives are often as beloved for what they say as for the mysteries they solve. For instance, Sherlock Holmes fans will recognize his “Elementary, my dear Watson”; afficionados of Inspector Clouseau from the “Pink Panther” series know he introduces himself: “I am Inspector Clouseau of the Sureté”; while the enchanting Charlie Chan is known for the profound wit and playful counsel that were his trademark in Hollywood movies of the ’30s and ’40s.

Here are a few more Chan facts that may unravel any mystery surrounding him in your mind. Warner Oland was the favorite of Charlie Chan fans and his fortune-cookie wisdom-Chan says in “Charlie Chan in Shanghai” (1935), “Motive like end of string tied in many knots; end may be in sight, but hard to unravel”-and thrilling mysteries have made the character he played one of film’s most popular crime-solvers.

Now, movie lovers and Chan fans can reacquaint themselves with some of the sage detective’s greatest cases thanks to the DVD debut of four of his films: “Charlie Chan in Egypt” (which includes an early appearance by Rita Hayworth as a slinky housemaid), “Charlie Chan in London,” “Charlie Chan in Paris” and “Charlie Chan in Shanghai.” The set also boasts new material including documentaries, original theatrical trailers and a never-before-released Spanish-language Charlie Chan adventure, “Eran Trece” (“There Were Thirteen”). The DVD set is marketed as “The Charlie Chan Collection-Volume One” and is available at stores for under 60 dollars.

How good are they? As Charlie Chan said in his Paris adventure, “Cannot see contents of nut until shell is cracked.”

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