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Mr. Wong, Detective
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Mr. Wong, Detective (1938) More at IMDbPro »

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Mr. Wong, Detective -- When a dying man asks for Mr. Wong's help (played by Boris Karloff), this begins an investigation of his murder and that of two others. Spies and a formula for a poison gas are involved.


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6.1/10   640 votes »
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Up 4% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Houston Branch (screen play)
Hugh Wiley (based on: the "James Lee Wong" series in Collier's Magazine written by)
View company contact information for Mr. Wong, Detective on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
5 October 1938 (USA) See more »
HIS HOBBY IS MURDER! Mr. Wong's main interest is solving murders - and he's an expert at it! Watch Collier's Magazine's famous Chinese sleuth trick a triple-killer into giving himself away...for the mystery thrill of you life! (original poster) See more »
When a chemical manufacturer is killed after asking detective James Wong to help him, Wong investigates this and two subsequent murders... See more » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Plain-Looking But Interesting Mystery Feature With a Good Performance From Karloff See more (31 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Boris Karloff ... Mr. James Lee Wong

Grant Withers ... Captain Sam Street
Maxine Jennings ... Myra Ross

Evelyn Brent ... Olga aka Countess Dubois
George Lloyd ... Devlin
Lucien Prival ... Anton Mohl
John St. Polis ... Carl Roemer
William Gould ... Theodore Meisle
Hooper Atchley ... Christian Wilk

John Hamilton ... Simon Dayton
Wilbur Mack ... Russell
Lee Tung Foo ... Tchin (as Lee Tong Foo)
Lynton Brent ... Tommy
Grace Wood ... Mrs. Roemer
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Frank Bruno ... Lescardi - Mohl's Henchman (uncredited)
Ed Cassidy ... Ambulance Doctor (uncredited)
Wheaton Chambers ... Chemistry Lab Director (uncredited)

Clancy Cooper ... Warehouse Man (uncredited)
Lester Dorr ... Coroner (uncredited)
Herbert Evans ... Mr. Wilk's Butler (uncredited)
Dick Reinhart ... Dock Worker (uncredited)

Directed by
William Nigh 
Writing credits
Houston Branch (screen play)

Hugh Wiley (based on: the "James Lee Wong" series in Collier's Magazine written by)

Produced by
William T. Lackey .... associate producer (as William Lackey)
Original Music by
Edward J. Kay (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Harry Neumann (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Russell F. Schoengarth (film editor) (as Russell Schoengarth)
Makeup Department
Gordon Bau .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
Charles J. Bigelow .... production manager (as C.J. Bigelow)
Scott R. Dunlap .... in charge of production
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
W.B. Eason .... assistant director
Sound Department
Karl Zint .... recording engineer
Music Department
Abe Meyer .... musical director (uncredited)
Other crew
E.R. Hickson .... technical director
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
69 min | USA:70 min (copyright length)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Finland:K-16 | UK:A | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #4690)

Did You Know?

Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): Mr. Wong's servant waits on him on what we are told is his day off.See more »
[first lines]
Anton Mohl, aka Baron Von Krantz:You're going to get killed doing that, one of these days, Lescardi!
See more »
Movie Connections:
References Hell's Angels (1930)See more »


Is this available on DVD?
See more »
8 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
Plain-Looking But Interesting Mystery Feature With a Good Performance From Karloff, 13 June 2005
Author: Snow Leopard from Ohio

Although most of the production is pretty plain, the basic mystery story in "Mr. Wong, Detective" is rather interesting, and Boris Karloff's good performance as the detective also makes it worth seeing. Karloff brought a human touch to every role that he played, and even though this is an atypical part for him, he is a believable Mr. Wong. Most of the other characters are somewhat nondescript, except for Grant Withers's abrasive police officer, and aside from Karloff the cast is nothing special, but the story itself is enough to hold your interest.

In the story, the detective must patiently solve a mystery from the slightest of clues. Some of the developments strain credibility, but if you can accept the premise, it's an interesting idea and it makes decent use of the details. There are several places where it could have been written better or edited more effectively, but the pacing is pretty good, and as it proceeds, it often gives you what you need to know in order to try to anticipate what happens next.

The climactic sequence is one of the better ones that you'll see in this kind of B-movie. The production values are lower than a Karloff feature deserves, but with a solid story and Karloff in the lead, it's definitely worth seeing.

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