A boatload of Westerners is trapped in Manchuria as bandits led by Russian renegade Voronsky ravage the area. Seeking refuge in a fortified inn, the group is led by the boat's Captain ... See full summary »
A boatload of Westerners is trapped in Manchuria as bandits led by Russian renegade Voronsky ravage the area. Seeking refuge in a fortified inn, the group is led by the boat's Captain Carson, who becomes involved with a woman who "belongs" to Voronsky. Carson must contend with the bandits outside and the conflicting personalities of those trapped inside the inn, as well as dealing with spies among the inn's personnel. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This film might remind you of "Shanghai Express" (1932) and "The Bitter Tea of General Yen" (1933), as all were set in China during their prolonged civil war--in which various warlords carved out their own private fiefdoms from the troubled early days of the Republic (about 1916-1928). Chaos typified this era and it made a decent backdrop for stories of adventure--though in Hollywood style MANY of the 'Chinese' extras looked about as Chinese as Mickey Mouse! And, like these other films, the story is about a group of westerners caught up in the middle of this fighting. In fact, all three films are virtually the same when it comes to major plot points.
Richard Dix plays the captain of a boat that is at port. When the group (including the likes of Dudley Digges, Edward Everett Horton, Zasu Pitts and Gwili Andre) is trapped in a small fortress, the hard-drinking Captain takes charge...but can he really do anything to stop the evil Russian bandit, Voronsky (C. Henry Gordon)? And will the westerners rise to the occasion or behave like a bunch of rats on a sinking ship?
So are there any surprises that set "Roar of the Dragon" apart from these other films? Well, Gwili Andre is certainly a unique figure. She was a pretty Danish lady who looked a lot like Greta Garbo and Myrna Loy put together. It's almost certain you have not heard of her but she was one of several attempts to find the new Garbo or Dietrich--a European beauty with a mysterious air about her. She never caught on with audiences and only made a few films. What's REALLY stood out for me was seeing the usually effeminate and effete Horton playing somewhat of an action hero in the film! REALLY! Watching him manning the machine gun and mowing down the rebels was quite a treat! My feeling about "Roar of the Dragon" is that it's an interesting curio but the other two films I already mentioned are just a bit better. So, unless you want to see all three, I recommend you try the others instead--the really aren't all that different from each other.
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