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The Hatchet Man (1932)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  6 February 1932 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 415 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 8 critic

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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Title: The Hatchet Man (1932)

The Hatchet Man (1932) on IMDb 6.4/10

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Dudley Digges ...
Leslie Fenton ...
Edmund Breese ...
Tully Marshall ...
J. Carrol Naish ...
Sun Yat Ming (as J. Carroll Naish)
...
Lip Hop Fat
E. Alyn Warren ...
Soo Lat, the Cobbler
Edward Peil Sr. ...
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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 February 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Honorable Mr. Wong  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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 Slaying the Dragon (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Chinese Hit Man
21 January 2010 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The film The Hatchet Man is based on an unproduced play written by one Achmed Abdullah and theatrical impresario David Belasco. Belasco had died the previous year and I'm sure Warner Brothers must have bought the right to this play from his estate. The play was entitled The Honorable Mr. Wong and it was an outsiders view of what life was like within the Chinese ghetto on the Pacific coast. It's important to remember that when trying to rationalize the yellow peril attitudes that are in this film.

Edward G. Robinson did not look fondly back on The Hatchet Man. I imagine neither did his heavily lacquered co-star Loretta Young. Both look positively ridiculous and neither attempts any kind of Chinese accent. I guess they didn't want to sound ridiculous as well.

Robinson is in the ancient an honorable profession of Hatchet Man or more precise he's a Chinese contract killer for the Tongs. He's been given a contract on J. Carrol Naish by one of the Tong heads, Dudley Digges. Though Naish is an old friend and has even made him prime beneficiary in his will which includes his daughter who grows up to be Loretta Young. Naish says do the deed quickly and Robinson does.

Fifteen years passed and Young's now married to Robinson, but the Tong Wars are heating up and he's not giving her the attention she needs. Leslie Fenton is around and he's a Chinese gigolo and opium addict.

Although the plot takes a few surprise twists in the end it does come out as one might expect. The Honorable Mr. Wong never got produced by David Belasco and I suspect for good reason. The Hatchet Man feeds into all kinds of attitudes prevalent in the day about the Yellow Peril. And it's just not a terribly good or even terribly bad film. Just bad enough.


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