Charlie Chan in Paris ★★★½

The best of Fox's many Charlie Chan films were the family affairs, those featuring one or more of the character's kids, and ideally those starring the original Chan, Warner Oland, opposite his "Number One Son" Lee, played by Keye Luke.

This, Luke's first appearance in the series, is a fairly standard, rather low-budget B-mystery about bond forgery and murder that's lent remarkable warmth and humanity by the touching, completely credible relationship between the wise Chinese detective and his Americanised son.

Their opening scene together, beginning with suspense, moving through the excitement of reunion, and ending with Luke vowing to protect his father from his would-be killer, is an absolute beauty.

There's also a fairly strong supporting cast, led by Fred and Ginger alumnus Erik Rhodes, Blessed Event's Mary Brian and veteran character actor Henry Kolker - whose role is little more than a glorified cameo - along with a spectacular reprise of that rough-and-ready style of Gallic dance I last saw in Parisian Love.

Fox had only thrown Luke into the series to snag a younger audience; it worked, but it did something greater, giving the films a human centre that the one-off mystery plots simply couldn't approach. Chan would have greater adventures, but this is the one that established the formula - winning in both senses of the word.