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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>
A collection of natives and Westerners barricade themselves in an old Chinese inn against the onslaught of fierce Tartar bandits.
ROAR OF THE DRAGON is a very fine adventure film, with suspense & humor, plenty of excitement, first rate production values and good acting. It is indeed difficult to find anything to dislike about the movie and it stands up nicely to comparison with other similarly themed pictures of the period - SHANGHAI EXPRESS (1932), THE MASK OF FU MANCHU (1932) & THE BITTER TEA OF GENERAL YEN (1933).
Richard Dix creates another sturdy performance as the alcoholic riverboat captain who takes charge in defending the folks sheltering in the inn. Dix gives us a character who's sensible, brave and absolutely no nonsense in dealing with deadly danger. But the film has another champion as well, and this one refreshingly unlikely. Wonderful character actor Edward Everett Horton eschews his normal Nervous Nellie nuances and rewards us with a civil servant who vigorously fights back against the terrorists, heroically aiding Dix despite terrible odds. He even gets to enjoy some tender romance before the film ends, leaving us with a most memorable characterization.
Two lovely ladies grace the film - Gwili Andre as the mysterious gun-toting doll sought by the bandit chief and Arline Judge as the girl from Bridgeport, Connecticut, who finds love in the most unexpected place. Comedienne ZaSu Pitts plays the timid Lady from Omaha, thoroughly regretting her decision to travel around the world. Dudley Digges is the cowardly owner of the stranded riverboat, degraded enough to steal goat's milk from orphans. C. Henry Gordon is delightfully repulsive as the Russian leader of the bandits, whom we first encounter cauterizing the remains of his left ear, bitten off by Dix in a previous encounter.
Movie mavens will spot an uncredited Willie Fung at the end of the picture playing a Chinese sailor.
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