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The Hatchet Man (1932)

San Francisco Tong hatchet man Wong must execute his boyhood friend Sun. Sun knew his time was up and wrote out his will just prior to Wong showing up at his door. When Sun realizes Wong is... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Sun Yat Ming (as J. Carroll Naish)
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E. Alyn Warren ...
Soo Lat, the Cobbler
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Bing Foo (as Eddie Piel)
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Storyline

San Francisco Tong hatchet man Wong must execute his boyhood friend Sun. Sun knew his time was up and wrote out his will just prior to Wong showing up at his door. When Sun realizes Wong is there to kill me he tries to set his friend's mind at ease by telling him he is the beneficiary of all Sun's worldly possessions and convinces Wong to promise to take care of Sun's young daughter, Toya San who Sun has bequeathed to become his wife. Years later, when she becomes of age, she marries Wong, now a powerful figure, though she loves evil Harry. When Wong learns Toya will be happier with Harry he allows them to leave. Still later Wong learns that Harry has been deported and since Toya could not prove she was married to someone else she too was deported to China. When Wong learns of this, he goes after them. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

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Crime | Drama

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Release Date:

6 February 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Honorable Mr. Wong  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Japanese-born Toshia Mori was up for the Chinese-American role of Sun Toya San, before it went to Loretta Young. Mori later admitted it was the biggest disappointment during the first five years of her career before she was signed as a contract player by Columbia. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Poor Butterfly
(uncredited)
Music by Raymond Hubbell
Instrumental played in background during Sun Toya San's birthday
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User Reviews

Good Stuff
28 February 2008 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Hatchet Man, The (1932)

*** (out of 4)

Entertaining crime picture has Edward G. Robinson playing the title character, a hit man for a tong gang in Chinatown who must murder his best friend. Before the murder the man gives his daughter to Robinson so that he can marry her when she gets older. Years pass and Robinson and the girl (Loretta Young) are about to be married when another tong war breaks out. Director Wellman knows how to handle this material and does so very well and the film moves very fast and is over before you can blink. The fact that whites are playing all the Asian roles might bother some but nothing ever gets too offensive. Robinson gives a very good, quiet performance even though he's never believable as an Asian. He speaks with his normal voice so there's really never an attempt to come off Asian. Young is also very good in her role, although she isn't given a whole lot to do. I'm not sure if this is wrong or not but in her Asian make up she comes off as one of the most attractive Asian women I've seen. The supporting cast are all fine in their roles with J. Carrol Naish having a bit part. The story is pretty light weight but it remains entertaining through its 74-minutes.


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