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CHARLIE CHAN: The Black Camel (1931)

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We have added a new page to the architecture section:  ARCHITECTURE IN HOLLYWOOD: Royal Hawaiian Hotel
It has not only hosted celebrities from Hollywood but itself has appeared in such movies as the Charlie Chan entry The Black Camel (1931)!
Plus just a little something extra!

Black Camel

THE BLACK CAMEL   (1931)

 

Based on the novel published in 1929 by Earl Derr Biggers.

 

CAST:
Louise McIntosh is listed as housekeeper.

Who plays Miss Dixon?

 

BLOOPER:  When Charlie interrogates Alan Haynes, Haynes walked behind him twice.

 

Possible blooper:  Alan Jaynes is talking to [Robert Young] when Julie O’Neill comes by.  She goes to the right to Sheila Fayne’s tent.  When Sheila leaves, she goes away from the camera instead of toward Jayne’s car.  The next time we see her—She’s in his car.

 

The card enclosed in the corsage that Shielah Fayne gets:

    With love from

       Bob”

        Mr. Robert Fyfe

                                              

Phone 1313     Royal Theatre

C. Hnry Gordon has two memorable lines: 

Calling Charlie "Mr. Too Soon" and suggests that Charlie may need a lie detector.  Charlie asks, "You mean wife?  ALrady have one!"He also tells Charlie that his case is full of holes. Charlie reminds him that “Sponge full of holes!  Sponge holds water!”

 

Charlie calls Kashimo “a sports model jackass” (or zebra).

 

The scene with J. M. Kerrigan and Mary Gordon suggests a scene was cut out earlier of Chan interviewing them about Tarnaverro.

 

“During World War II, the Royal Hawaiian was used to house Navy Personnel for rest and relaxation (??) Servicemen returning from duty in the Pacific “unwound” at the famous hotel.  Following the war, the hotel, showing definite wear resulting from the Navy’s use, was remodeled.

 

“Following statehood in 1959, rapid development occurred in Waikiki.  Today, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel is surrounded by high-rise hotels, including newer wings of its own.  However, the romance of the old days can still be found at the ‘Pink Palace,’ and, if one listens carefully, voices from the past, including those of Warner Oland and the cast of ‘The Black Camel.’ Can still be faintly heard. . . .

 

“The song ‘Aloha ‘Oe’ (“Farewell to Thee”), written in 1877 by Hawaii’s last monarch, Queen Lili ’ uokalani, can be heard as ‘exit music’ at the very end of ‘The Black Camel.”

 

Also from http://charliechanfamily.tripod.com/id20.html.

 

ALOHA 'OE

 

Ha'aheo 'e ka ua I na` pali

Proudly swept the rain by the cliffs

Ke nihi a'ele i ka nahele

As it glided through the trees

E uhai ana paha i ka liko

Still following over the bud

Pua 'ahihi hehua ouka.

The ‘ahihi lehua of the vale

 

Hui:  (Chorus:)

Aloha 'oi, aloha 'oi

Farewell to you, farewell to you

E ke onaona noho i ka lipo

The charming one who dwells in the shaded bowers

One fond embrace,

One fond embrace,

A hui hou aku.

‘Ere I depart

Until we meet again

Until we meet again

 

'O ka hali a aloha ka i hiki mai

Sweet memories come back to me

Ke hone a'e nei i

Bringing fresh remembranes

Ku u manawa

Of the past

'O 'oe no ka'u ipo aloha

Dearest one, yes, you are mine own

A loko e hana nei.

From you, true love shall never depart

 

Maopopo ku'u 'ike i ka nani

I have seen and watched your loveliness

Na pua rose o Mauna-wili

The sweet rose of Maunawili

I laila ho' ohie na manu,

And ‘tis there the birds of love dwell

Miki'ala i ka nani o ia pua

And sip the honey from your lips

 

Source:  Jonathan Wong – This song of farewell between two lovers is the most famous of the Queen’s compositions, written in 1878.  The tune of the verse resembles “The Rock Beside the Sea”, composed by Charles Crozat Converse and published in Philadelphia, 1857.  The melody of the chorus is remarkably close to the chorus of George Frederick Root’s, “There’s Music In The Air”, published in 1854.  There is a manuscript of “Aloha Oe” in Queen lili’uokalani’s handwriting in the Bishop Museum.  Lahilahi Webb and Virginia Dominia Koch tell of a visit by the queen and her attendants to Maunawili Ranch, the home of Edwin Boyd on windward Oahu.  As they started their return trip to Honolulu on horseback up the steep Pali trail, the queen turned to admire the view of Kaneohe Bay.  She witnessed a particularly affectionate farewell between Colonel James Boyd of her party and a lovely young girl Maunawili.  As they rode up the steep cliff and into the swirling winds, she started to hum over the mountain peak and slowly floated down Nu’uanu Valley.  The queen continued to hum and completed her song as they rode the winding trail down the valley back to Honolulu.  Translation by Lili’uokanlani.

 

Click on the link to hear “Aloha ‘Oe” sung (Courtesy of Hawaiian Music and Hula Archives):

http://www.huapala.org/Aloha/AlohaOe.mp3

 

The original version of the words and their translation are at:

http://www.huapala.org/Aloha/Aloha_Oe.html

 

[This can be heard as 'exit music' at

the very end of 'The Black Camel]

 

SEPTEMBER, 2007 THE OLD MOVIE MAVEN VOlUME 2, Issue 9

 

Charlie Chan’s Secret (1936) Audio Commentary

and The Black Camel (1931)

 

            Maven has found a major blooper in the third set of the classic Chinese Detective series, Charlie Chan!

            And it wasn’t made by the studio!

            Ken Hanke (author of Charlie Chan at the Movies, McFarland, 1989) and John Cork (film historian who put together the featurettes on the third boxed set of Charlie Chan movies) did a great job on the audio commentary of Charlie Chan’s Secret (1936) . . . except for one tiny, little mistake.

            Charlie Chan is meeting with Mrs. Lowell (Henrietta Crosman) and her family:  her daughter, Janice Gage (Astrid Allwyn); her son-in-law, Fred Gage (Edward Trevor) and her lawyer, Warren T. Phelps (Jonathan Hale).

             The only thing is that they confuse Edward Trevors’s character of Fred with Charles Quigley’s Dick Williams.

            They do get it right that Williams is a newspaper reporter and in love with Mrs. Lowell’s other daughter, Alice (Rosina Lawrence).

            What makes it more amusing is that they do describe Trevor right, as not being “leading man” quality with a rather screwy light voice, but give him Quigley’s name of Dick Williams and his much longer career (including the deliciously named The Crimson Ghost, 1946).

            Maven just has to wonder just how long has it been since they looked at the opening credits, www.imdb.com, www.charliechan.info or Maven’s own records of her favorite Charlie Chan movie?! . . . .

            But there are lots of regular old bloopers in Charlie Chan’s Secret!

            From how do the folks back home know that the murdered-victim-to-be, Allan Colby, was on his way home to how the bad guy gets everything done when it would take at least two to three people and sometimes in two or more places at the same time!

There is the scene at the start of the movie where Charlie has hired a boat crew to dive for survivors of a ship that may have gone down with Allan Colby.

One of the divers comes up and the briefcase that he brings up switches from wet to dry and back and some of the papers inside look like they were never wet to begin with!

            Their commentary is very informative about the only Chan movie that Fox made on location—The Black Camel [1931], also in this collection—about the director (Hamilton McFadden) and his techniques, the actors (Bela Lugosi), the plot, the makeup, and even the dress designer Dolly Tree!

             There are other bloopers, too, like how does Charlie not notice Tarneverro (Bela Lugosi) and Julie O’Niel (Sally Eilers) hiding pieces of a picture strewn all over the floor?

            The picture is of an actor, Denny Mayo.  Other pictures of him are seen cut out of a newspaper in the local library.

            It’s a plot device to hide his picture that doesn’t make sense once you find out who done it.

            And there is a scene of Warner Oland’s Chan with J.M. Kerrigan and Mary Gordon (Mrs. Hudson to Basil Rathbone’s Sherlock Holmes) as the MacMasters.  He mentions talking to them earlier in the day but there is no scene.

            Probably it was deleted but the studio either forgot about the reference or considered it too expensive to correct.

            There are other bloopers but The Black Camel definitely worth watching, as a mystery and an early talky and to watch Bela Lugosi still at his best, right after Dracula, as the psychic, Tarneverro.

            He has an excellent scene with Dorothy Revier as Shelah Fane over a crystal ball that is beautifully scripted, lighted, and acted . . . well-worth watching.

            Charlie Chan’s Secret and The Black Camel  have plot holes and bloopers but they have always been among Maven’s favorite movies of all time.

            They are even more worth watching now that Fox has restored them to like-new along with the other movies in this collection:   . . . on Broadway, . . . Monte Carlo, Behind That Curtain (the 1929 Derr Biggers book made into a Warner Baxter romantic movie).

            Definitely a good buy!

CAST:
 
Warner Oland: Charlie Chan
Sally Eilers: Julie O'Neill
Bela Lugosi: Tarneverro (alias Arthur Mayo)
Dorothy Revier: Shelah Fane
Victor Varconi: Robert Fyfe
Murray Kinnell: Smith
William Post, Jr.: Alan Jaynes
Robert Young: Jimmy Bradshaw
Violet Dunn: Anna (alias Mrs. Denny Mayo)
J.M. Kerrigan: Thomas MacMasters
Mary Gordon: Mrs. MacMasters
Rita Rozelle: Luana
Otto Yamaoka: Kashimo
Dwight Frye: Jessop (not credited) 
Richard Tucker: Wilkie Ballou (not credited) 
Marjorie White: Rita Ballou (not credited)
C. Henry Gordon: Huntley Van Horn (not credited)
Robert Homans: Chief of Police (not credited)
Louise Mackintosh: Librarian (not credited)
Hamilton MacFadden: Movie Director [Val Martino] (not credited)

James Wang: Wong (not credited)

Melvin Paoa: Hawaiian Beach Boy (not credited)

Ivy Ling (?): Number One Chan Daughter (not credited)

(Unknown): Miss [Diana] Dixon (not credited)

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