Bob Martin (Charles Delaney) is a reporter for the Daily Chronicle who is training fledgling cub reporter, Ann Parker (Marion Shilling). Bob’s German Shepherd dog Tarzan (Tarzan) goes with him wherever he goes. The editor sends him and Ann to cover a polo match. After awhile Bob and Ann skip out to cover a better story in Chinatown.
In Chinatown two warring factions, the Wongs and the Lings have been feuding for decades. Tom Wong (Wing Foo) is the son of the head of the Wongs. He is in love with Joy Ling (Bo Ling), the daughter of the head of the Ling Tong. Tom and Joy manage to convince their fathers to end the feud so they can get married. To seal the deal the Wong family gives to the Ling family an expensive jade necklace worth $50,000 as a wedding present. Bob and Ann want to interview both families. Bob’s editor (John Elliott) sends Bob to cover a fire while Ann stays in Chinatown.
A thief named Zamboni (Paul Ellis) and his partners Harry (Robert Walker) and Raymond (Philo McCullough) decide to steal the necklace. Dressed as a Chinese, Zamboni stabs Tom, steals the necklace and hides it trying to outwit his partners. The theft is blamed on the Lings. This starts the Tong war all over again. Zamboni is seen by Ann so he locks her in a room while he hides the necklace. Tarzan shows up and Ann sends him to get Bob, but it’s Tarzan who saves the day.
“Captured in Chinatown” was released in 1935 and was directed by Elmer Clifton. It is a crime mystery and a romance. The theme is Romeo and Juliet in Chinatown. The film is not actually a mystery since you know who the bad guys are. At less than fifty-five minutes long the movie is a quick bit of fluff.
Tarzan does a lot of tricks, like opening doors and putting crumpled paper in trash cans. In a lot of instances you can see him take direction from a trainer off screen. He’s competent but he can’t match the skills possessed by Friday, the Seeing Eye dog from “Eyes in the Night” 1942. Still a dog that gets top billing in his own movies is nothing to sneeze at.
Tarzan actually did three movies. The others were just as short. “Captured in Chinatown” was the third movie starring the canine detective. The others were “Inside Information” 1934 and “Million Dollar Haul” 1935.