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Mr. Wong in Chinatown (1939)

Approved | | Mystery | 1 August 1939 (USA)
A pretty Chinese woman, seeking help from San Francisco detective James Lee Wong, is killed by a poisoned dart in his front hall, having time only to scrawl "Captain J" on a sheet of paper.... See full summary »

Director:

William Nigh

Writers:

Scott Darling (screenplay), Hugh Wiley (characters: series in Collier's Magazine)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Boris Karloff ... James Lee Wong
Marjorie Reynolds ... Bobby Logan
Grant Withers ... Inspector Bill Street
Huntley Gordon ... Mr. Davidson
George Lynn ... Captain Guy Jackson (as Peter George Lynn)
William Royle ... Captain Jaime
James Flavin ... Sergeant Jerry
Lotus Long ... Princess Lin Hwa
Lee Tung Foo Lee Tung Foo ... Willie (as Lee Tong Foo)
Bessie Loo Bessie Loo ... Lilly May
Richard Loo ... Tong Chief
Ernie Stanton Ernie Stanton ... Burton
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Storyline

A pretty Chinese woman, seeking help from San Francisco detective James Lee Wong, is killed by a poisoned dart in his front hall, having time only to scrawl "Captain J" on a sheet of paper. She proves to be Princess Lin Hwa, on a secret military mission for Chinese forces fighting the Japanese invasion. Mr. Wong finds two captains with the intial J in the case, neither being quite what he seems; there's fog on the waterfront and someone still has that poison-dart gun... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Mystery

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 August 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mr. Wong no Bairro Chinês See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Monogram Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film received its earliest documented telecast Sunday 15 March 1942 on New York City's pioneer television station WNBT (Channel 1). Post-WWII television viewers got their first look at it in Los Angeles Wednesday 9 November 1949 on KTLA (Channel 5), in Cincinnati Tuesday 29 November 1949 on WKRC (Channel 11), and in New York City Thursday 23 February 1950 on the DuMont Television Network's WABD (Channel 5). See more »

Goofs

When Street and Logan arrive at Davidson's house, the supposedly-dead dogs are clearly breathing as Street kneels to examine them. See more »

Quotes

Lilly May: I know nothing!
Inspector Bill Street: Nobody know anything around here!
See more »

Connections

Followed by Doomed to Die (1940) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Watchable but not great
22 December 2013 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

For Boris Karloff fans Mr Wong in Chinatown makes for good curiosity value and has good things that makes it a little more than that. Mr Wong in Chinatown is far from bad and Karloff has certainly done worse(look at the Mexican films he did) but he has also done better and deserved better. If asked whether Mr Wong in Chinatown is recommended, I'd say yes but only partially. There are some good things, Karloff is still commanding and gives a very good performance(as said many times by me one of those actors that gave his all regardless of the material). Marjorie Reynolds is the other, and in a way only other, standout in the cast, she brings a great deal of sass to Logan and really spices things up but deserved better material to do so more. Some of the sparring-constant- between her and Grant Withers is entertaining. The closing gag is great. The music has its jauntiness and eeriness. The sets are appropriate and nicely done. And Lotus Long while killed off quickly, perhaps too quickly, she makes for a sensual presence and makes things promising to begin with. However, while the sparring between Reynolds and Withers is fun their chemistry could have been better, aside from their dialogue the chemistry doesn't gel. And Withers to me is the problem, his performance more scenery-chewing rather than subtle and often of the worst kind, the shouting and frozen facial expressions did get annoying after a while. The photography is serviceable but could have been more fluid, the low-budget does show. Outside of the verbal sparring and the closing gag, the dialogue does come across as stilted and could have developed things more. The story shows good potential but peters out after the beginning but picks up at the final solution, which is a nice surprise, the mystery did feel weak because of the dull pacing(the film did feel longer than it was), lack of suspense and tension, the lacking dialogue and that really only two performances stood out. It also got very routine and didn't contain that many surprises. In conclusion, a watchable film with interest points but not great, one of the weaker entries of the series. 5.5/10 Bethany Cox


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