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The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)

Passed  -  Adventure | Horror | Sci-Fi  -  5 November 1932 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 1,969 users  
Reviews: 68 user | 27 critic

Englishmen race to find the tomb of Ghengis Khan. They have to get there fast, as the evil genius Dr. Fu Manchu is also searching, and if he gets the mysteriously powerful relics, he and ... See full summary »

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, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Karen Morley ...
Sheila
Charles Starrett ...
...
...
Von Berg
...
Sir Lionel Barton
David Torrence ...
McLeod
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Storyline

Englishmen race to find the tomb of Ghengis Khan. They have to get there fast, as the evil genius Dr. Fu Manchu is also searching, and if he gets the mysteriously powerful relics, he and his diabolical daughter will enslave the world! Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 November 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La máscara de Fu-Manchú  »

Box Office

Budget:

$327,627 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As originally scripted, during the torture sequence, it was planned to have Von Berg (Jean Hersholt) suspended over the crocodile pit and Neyland Smith (Lewis Stone) about to be impaled by the walls of spikes. This was reversed when, for reasons unknown, it was thought that a fat captive would make more sense being impaled than a thin one. See more »

Goofs

While he is Fu Manchu's prisoner, it is an important plot point that Sir Lionel Barton has had his hand cut off by Fu, his severed hand falling out of a tree and being discovered by Terrence Granville. But later, when Barton's body is abandoned in front of the expedition headquarters after his murder, he clearly (in long shot) has both hands. See more »

Quotes

Fu Manchu: The slightest move will send a bullet crashing through your stiff British spine.
Nayland Smith: Are you in the habit of shooting your enemies in the back?
Fu Manchu: Put your gun away. You may turn around. Ah, now that's better. Now we can talk like gentleman.
See more »

Connections

Follows Karamaneh (1924) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Death to the White Race!
7 November 2006 | by (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

"The Mask of Fu Manchu" was MGMs attempt to cash in on the horror craze of the day. They even went so far as to secure the services of the biggest horror star, Boris Karloff from Universal. Evendently, Irving Thalberg the head of production at MGM thought the studio could make them "bigger and better". MGM had released "Freaks" earlier the same year, about a group of circus freaks, but it didn't do well at the box office. So this time they decided to go with a major horror star.

Dr. Fu Manchu (Karloff) a half mad and sadistic oriental leader hopes to become the new Genghis Khan by recovering Khan's mask and sword from his tomb. He then plans to unite all orientals and eliminate the white race. Also after the treasure are Sir Lionel Barton (Lawrence Grant) and his expedition which includes his daughter Sheila (Karen Morley), Professor Von Berg (Jean Hersholt), Terrence Granville (Charles Starrett), McLeod (David Torrence) and Scotland Yard detective Nayland Smith (Lewis Stone) along to protect the treasure from falling into the hands of Fu Manchu.

Fu Manchu abducts Barton and tries to get him to reveal the location of Genghis Khan's sword and mask. When he refuses, Fu Manchu subjects him to the "bell torture". To free Barton, the party agrees to send Terrence to Fu Manchu with fake artifacts. Fu Manchu's equally evil daughter Fah Lo See (Myrna Loy) sets her sights on Terrence.

After subjecting him to a lashing, Fu Manchu injects Terrence with a serum that will compel him to do Fu Manchu's bidding. Terrance returns to Sheila and under Fu Manchu's influence tricks the others into coming back to Fu Manchu with the real treasure.

When the tyrant finally gets his hands on the the sword and mask, he has no further use with the explorers. First he plans to offer Sheila up as a sacrifice to the gods, subject Smith to a slow descent into an alligator pit, Professor Von Berg to impalement by a two sided wall of spikes while retaining Terrence "for the amusement" of his daughter.

This film benefited greatly from MGMs excellent production values. The set pieces including the various instruments of torture, are excellent. Being filmed before The Production Code was implemented in Hollywood in 1934, this film contains several racial remarks and sexual innuendos. Its no secret what the seductive Foh Lo See is up to.

As was usual in Hollywood, the lead oriental parts were cast with Caucasians, and the so-called Britishers with Americans using phony accents, if in fact they used them at all.

Karloff seems to relish his part being as mean and evil as he ever was. Watch the "bell torture" sequence as an example. Loy was never sexier and probably never got the chance to play such a role again. Stone, an MGM mainstay, is also good as Fu Manchu's main adversary.

Charles Starrett would go on to be Columbia's main "B" western hero in a contract that ran from 1935 to 1952. For the latter years he was better known as "The Durango Kid".

One of MGM's better forays into the horror genre.


6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Great movie, but be forewarned: amartin-11
Homoerotic subtext georgegauthier
Karen Morley kennywolf
Just saw this on TCM -- no commercials mccloudnj
'Chinese' utterances of Fu Manchu partnerfrance
'My ugly and insignificant daughter...' FilmKoala
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