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Charlie Chan in Egypt

A 1935 movie directed by Louis King.

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Humor, mystery, and a stereotype

  • Nov 3, 2011
  • by
Chan is sent to Egypt by the French Archeological Society in Paris in this 1935 film to find out why certain items that were excavated from a tomb and were supposed to be sent to the Society were stolen and ended up in other museums. Chan discovers that the man who ran the excavations was murdered. While Chan is still in Egypt, this man's son is also murdered. There are a number of suspects, including the man's daughter who hates her father, her boy friend who her father dismissed from his job, her uncle who is hiding something, the uncle's assistant who is overprotective of Egyptian finds, the uncle's female helper who sneaks around watching what people are doing, and the family doctor who may be administering drugs to the daughter. Claims are made against Chan that he is incompetent and the cause of the son's death.

Chan's son is not in this film. Instead the very competent actor Stepin Fetchit plays, as he usually does, a stereotypical ignorant black man. He shuffles, shakes, whines, walks as if he is made of rubber, and is constantly scared. Fetchit is given the ridiculous name Snowshoes. He respond to everyone, "Yes'm," even to men. Humor is also added in a couple of scenes by an Arab swindler who tells Fetchit that he can reveal information about Fetchit's great great ancestors.

Chan typically offers many witty epigrams, true, but stated in a humorous way, including: Drop of water on thirsty tongue is more worth than gold. Waiting for tomorrow is waste of today. Cannot read book until pages are cut. Theories like mist on eyeglasses, obscures facts. Impossible to develop defense until direction of attack is known. Journey of life is like feather on water, must go with stream.
Humor, mystery, and a stereotype Humor, mystery, and a stereotype Humor, mystery, and a stereotype

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About the reviewer
Israel Drazin ()
Ranked #64
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of twenty books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four … more
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An X-ray machine reveals the presence of a corpse in an Egyptian sarcophagus. It is not that of the ancient high priest. Instead the body is that of the archaeologist who was thought to be on a trip to the Upper Nile, but is now found murdered. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>  

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