Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Wisdom of Charlie Chan: The Black Camel

This 1931 movie was the second in the Warner Oland series, and is the oldest to have survived. The first, Charlie Chan Carries On, along with the 3rd, 4th and 5th in the series, are lost films.

I haven't read the book, so don't know how much of Charlie's fortune-cookie wisdom was supplied by the author and how much by the screenwriters, but this film offers some great lines.

Death is a black camel that kneels unbidden at every gate.

Wages of stupidity is hunt for new job.

Mouse cannot cast shadow like elephant.

All foxes come at last to furrier's door.

Sometimes very difficult to pick up pumpkin with one finger.

Alibi have habit of disappearing like hole in water.

Even bagpipe will not speak when stomach is empty.

Way to find rabbit's residence is to turn rabbit loose and watch.

When conscience tries to speak, telephone out of order.

Even wisest man sometimes mistake bumblebee for blackberry.

Soap and water never can change perfume of billygoat.

Only very clever man can bite pie without breaking crust.

Can cut off monkey's tail, but he is still monkey.

A long life is only extra time for more troubles.

And finally my favorite . . .

Never boast about egg until after egg's birthday.


Richard Robinson said...

Love seeing these posters!

After having watched three or four Chan films, I decided I prefer the books. They don't have the slapstick element the films seem all to have, and they are better written, have better characters and aren't so cliche-ridden. There are some, but not nearly as many, of the Chan-isms in the books. I think int he first one, HOUSE WITHOUT A KEY there may have been three.

R/T said...

Color me, if you wish, as one who is an insensitive rabble-rouser, but I rather enjoy the political incorrectness of the Charlie Chan films. Living in today's era of hypersensitivity about all sorts of utterances deemed to be impolite, incorrect, and inappropriate, I still find the "offenses" from Hollywood's 30s and 40s to be wonderfully ironic.

Paul D Brazill said...

Beauty quotes. Top post. This is one of my fave blogs BTW

Booksteve said...

I had no idea there were lost Oland Chan films.

I once dated a 24 year old girl in the eighties who was really into Charlie Chan for some reason and I remember surprising her with an early edition of THE BLACK CAMEL.

Evan Lewis said...

Thanks for stopping by, guys. Haven't seen any Chan films in a coon's age, so they're fun to revisit. I guess it's time I tried a book. I enjoy popular culture as a reflection of the times when it was popular. Appreciate the kind words, Paul. And Steve - good to know I wasn't the only employing books in my wooing.