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The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)

Englishmen race to find the tomb of Genghis Khan before Fu Manchu does.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Von Berg
...
Sir Lionel Barton
...
McLeod
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Storyline

Englishmen race to find the tomb of Genghis 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

Taglines:

The Frankenstein of the Orient!


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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Charles Vidor started directing this movie but was fired after a few days of shooting and replaced by Charles Brabin. Filmed August 6-October 21 1932, after "The Old Dark House" and before "The Mummy." 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

Fah Lo See: I have seen a vision, the prophecy is about to be fulfilled. Genghis Khan, masked in his plate of gold, bearing the scimitar that none but he could ever wield comes back to us. I've seen a vision of countless hordes swarming to recapture the world. I've seen them victorious. I've heard the shouts of the dead and the dying drowned by the victorious cries of our people. Genghis Khan comes back! Genghis Khan leads the East against the world!
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Connections

Follows Greywater Park (1924) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Yellow Peril
30 October 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

It didn't surprise me in the least that The Mask Of Fu Manchu was produced by Cosmopolitan Pictures. Even though the title is a bit of a misnomer. It isn't about The Mask Of Fu Manchu, it's about the mask and sword of Ghenghis Khan which Boris Karloff as Fu Manchu wants to discover and appropriate for himself so he can become a kind of Far Eastern Mahdi.

Cosmopolitan Pictures was the production outfit of William Randolph Hearst and while it's main reason for existence was to produce films for Marion Davies, it did produce other films. The Hearst press, especially on the West Coast was very big in stirring up anti-Chinese and anti- Japanese feelings among the white people constantly using the phrase The Yellow Peril to describe how if they're allowed to emigrate her they'll be taking over in a few generations. The fictional Fu Manchu fit the Hearst agenda quite nicely.

In the Fu Manchu stories it's like Professor Moriarty was the main protagonist. Fu Manchu's particular Holmes is Commissioner Nayland Smith played by Lewis Stone as stout a representative of the United Kingdom and their imperial pretensions as ever went out in the noon day sun.

As I said Fu Manchu is after the warrior symbols of Ghengis Khan so he can lead the Oriental people to their rightful place. Interestingly this Oriental messiah seems to have a number of black slaves doing his bidding in the film. The British government as personified by Nayland Smith wants archaeologists Jean Hersholt, David Torrance and Lawrence Grant to find the tomb and get this so the British can display it at the British Museum in London as a symbol of their superiority. Grant is kidnapped and tortured by Karloff, but Grant's daughter Karen Morley and her boyfriend, future Durango Kid Charles Starrett takes her father's place on the expedition.

Though I think that The Mask Of Fu Manchu is every bit as racist in its attitudes as The Birth Of A Nation, like The Birth Of A Nation it has some great performances. Led of course by that master of horror, Boris Karloff. Karloff played so many different and varied types in his long career, being Chinese was no big deal for him to play. Later on Karloff kind of made it up to the Chinese people by playing the educated detective Mr. Wong who unlike Charlie Chan never spoke in fortune cookie aphorisms.

Myrna Loy is Fu Manchu's 'unworthy' daughter and this is at the height of the phase in her career where she played Oriental temptresses. She conceives a real liking for Starrett to turn him into her Occidental boy toy. She's a willing and eager accomplice in her father's dirty deeds, perhaps to show herself as worthy.

The Mask Of Fu Manchu is as racist a film as you can get, but it's also holding up quite well as entertainment. And who was ever more sinister on the screen than Boris Karloff playing anything?


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