Charlie Chan in London
Three motifs are later worked out in other films. The next year brought Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps with its quiet engine, subsequently there is the fox hunt in Huston’s The List of Adrian Messenger (story by the very same Philip MacDonald), and furthermore the blinded horses of Equus (dir. Sidney Lumet), also there is Altman’s Gosford Park.
An absolutely superb, dashed brilliant comedy on the dramatic notion of speculator trading with advance knowledge obtained from the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the Pheasant Inn with a crafty exchange of budget bags, one containing a speech to be delivered some days hence, and there is murder following upon this, a Scotland Yard investigation high and low conducted by the redoubtable Inspector, a man at home anywhere. “I didn’t want you to think—”
“I never do.” Gordon Harker has him a Cockney man of the world, educated, refined, rustic, what have you, trailing along Alastair Sim as Sergeant Bingham, “a simple Scot.”
Frank S. Nugent in his New York Times review summed it up as “just another detective picture cut to form,” and did as much for Czinner’s Stolen Life and Thorpe’s Tarzan Finds a Son the same day.
“Not bad,” says Halliwell’s Film Guide, which also retails Graham Greene’s approbation of some of the subtleties.