Inspector Duff (Rafael Calvo) of Scotland Yard is called to the Broome Hotel. One of their guests was murdered. Louis Potter was a wealthy business man on a world tour with his granddaughter Elen Potter (Ana Maria Custodio) and a group of other tourists. The group is sponsored by Dr. Lofton (Julio Villarreal) and his organization “Lofton Tours”. Duff finds that Potter was strangled by a strap from a suitcase. Dr. Lofton identifies the strap as coming from his bag.
The man in the room next to Potter is a theater promoter, Walter Decker (Carlos Diaz de Mendoza). Decker is looking to get back with his estranged wife; an actress named Sybil Conway (Lia Tora), once the group gets to San Remo. Then he hopes to have her join the tour. Duff works down the line questioning everyone on the tour but doesn’t gain any useful information. Without evidence he cannot hold the tour group in England.
The tour’s next stop is Paris. After they leave Duff finds out the Decker and Potter exchanged hotel rooms. Duff wants to ask Decker why. Duff heads for the tour’s next stop Nice. When he gets there he hears that Decker was shot in an apparent suicide. Duff contacts Decker’s estranged wife Sybil who agrees to meet with him in San Remo. She tells Duff that she is sure the murderer is her first husband Jim Maynard. Maynard was a jewel thief. Years ago she and Decker ran away together and took two bags of diamonds with them. Maynard vowed to kill them both. Since Sybil knows what Maynard looks like she agrees to point him out. Coming down in the open elevator she is shot from above.
Elen has been keeping her eyes and ears open for any clues to her grandfather’s killer that she can forward to Duff. In Hong Kong Elen hears someone call Jim Maynard’s name. Seeing a group of men from her tour she calls his name hoping for a reaction. All of the men turn around. She tells them she knows which one is Maynard. Dick Kennaway (Juan Torena), another traveler with the group, tells her that confronting the men has put her life in danger. When someone tries to shoot her Dick pulls her out of the way saving her life.
Hearing about the situation from Elen, Duff decides to join the tour in Honolulu. When he gets there he contacts his friend Charlie Chan (Manuel Arbo). While Duff is in Chan’s office someone shoots him in the back through the window. Duff is seriously wounded. Charlie is furious and vows to complete Duff’s mission and bring Jim Maynard to justice, whoever he is. Charlie’s parting words before he leaves to join the tour on their last leg to San Francisco is “Tell him that Charlie Chan is carrying on.”
“Eran Trece” (There Were Thirteen) was released in 1931 and was directed by David Howard. The movie is a mystery and is the Spanish version of the Charlie Chan film “Charlie Chan Carries On” which starred Warner Oland. The English version was the first Charlie Chan film done by 20th Century Fox and the first starring Warner Oland.
Fox made the Spanish language version of the film using the same sets as the English language film but with a Spanish speaking cast. This is similar to what Universal did for their film “Dracula” 1931. The filmmakers also used the same stock footage as the English version. The script was also close to the English version. It is the only Spanish language Charlie Chan film in the Twentieth Century Fox/Monogram cannon. It is also the only one in the series that doesn't feature Warner Oland, Sidney Toler or Roland Winters as Charlie Chan. This was the only one of the cannon that was done in both English and Spanish. Shortly after the movie was made sound technology improved enough to make voice dubbing cheaper, easier and more practical.
The English version of the film is considered a lost film. In 1937 a fire at the 20th Century film storage facility destroyed four of the first five Charlie Chan films made by Warner Oland. The four "lost" Charlie Chan films are “Charlie Chan Carries On” 1931, “Charlie Chan's Chance” 1932, “Charlie Chan's Greatest Case” 1933, and “Charlie Chan's Courage” 1934. The only surviving film of the first five was “The Black Camel” 1931.
When Charlie is saying good bye to his wife at the pier he is speaking Spanish with subtitles. His wife is actually speaking Japanese and not Chinese.
The photo Duff receives from Charlie of him with his family is actually a photo of Warner Oland, not Manuel Arbó. This same photograph was also used in other Charlie Chan movies.
It’s strange seeing someone else playing Charlie Chan and doing it in Spanish. That incongruity makes it difficult to like the film. If you can look past that inconsistency the movie isn’t that bad. Chan doesn’t come in until half way through the movie. Being the first Charlie Chan movie it’s sort of an introduction to the character. The acting is basic for the thirties and the story is decent. It’s worth checking out.