Torchy Blane in Chinatown

Torchy Blane in Chinatown is a 1939 American crime mystery film directed by William Beaudine and starring Glenda Farrell and Barton MacLane.[1][2][3] Released on February 4, 1939, it is the seventh film in the Torchy Blane movie series by Warner Bros. and is followed by Torchy Runs for Mayor (1939). The rivalry between newspaper reporter Torchy Blane and her boyfriend, Lieutenant Steve McBride, escalates as the two investigate a death threat involving priceless jade tablets.

Torchy Blane in Chinatown
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWilliam Beaudine
Produced byHal B. Wallis
Jack L. Warner
Written byFrederick Nebel
Murray Leinster
Screenplay byGeorge Bricker
StarringGlenda Farrell
Barton MacLane
Music byHoward Jackson
CinematographyWarren Lynch
Edited byFrederick Richards
Release date
  • February 4, 1939 (1939-02-04)
Running time
58 minutes
CountryUnited States


On behalf of Senator Baldwin (Henry O'Neill), the owner of the world's largest Chinese jade collection, detective Steve McBride (Barton MacLane) investigate a death threat involving the priceless jade tablets that were brought to the United States by three adventurers, who are now on the hit list of an oriental gang. A note written in Chinese warns the impending doom at midnight unless a ransom is paid for the valuable jades, which have been stolen. Steve is put on the case to protect the people who were involved in smuggling the jades into the country.

That night, Torchy Blane (Glenda Farrell) joins Steve at the Adventurers Club where he and his assistant Gahagan (Tom Kennedy) are guarding the threatened victims, Fitzhugh, Mr. Mansfield (James Stephenson) and Captain Condon (Patric Knowles). Once midnight has passed, they leave, but Fitzhugh is machine-gunned in his car and killed. A note found in the car warns that Mansfield will be the next to die. He is later found dead after smoking a poisoned cigarette, and his body vanishes mysteriously before the coroner arrives at the crime scene.

Senator Baldwin's daughter Janet Baldwin and her fiancé Dick Staunton, are ordered by the mysterious killer to deliver $250,000 ransom to the last buoy in the New York city harbor. Torchy discovered that Fitzhugh's fingerprints and those of the body in the morgue do not match. She joins Steve in a US Navy submarine as Dick rides out to pay the ransom. At the appointed place, Torchy and Steve surface in the submarine, just in time to save Dick and prove that the murders were all part of an elaborate plot by Fitzhugh, Mansfield, and Condon to extort money from Senator Baldwin.


Home media

Warner Archive released a boxed set DVD collection featuring all nine Torchy Blane films on March 29, 2011.[4]


  1. "Torchy Blane in Chinatown (1938)". All Movie. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
  2. "Torchy Blane in Chinatown (1939)". British Film Institute. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  3. "MOVIE REVIEW: Robert Sherwood's 'Idiot's Delight' Opens at Capitol --'Torchy Blane in Chinatown' Offered at Palace". The New York Times. February 3, 1939. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  4. KEHR, DAVE (May 7, 2010). "The Torchy Blane Collection". The New York Times. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
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