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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   660 votes »
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Down 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:
A delightful surprise for film buffs: Boris Karloff is Mr. Wong, Detective 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)
George DeNormand ... John (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?

Remade as a Charlie Chan film, "Docks of New Orleans."See more »
Continuity: Shortly before Mr Wilk is killed, he is in his study awaiting the arrival of the police. He goes to the window and looks out. There is not a sphere on the table by the window.

When the police arrive and find Wilk on the floor dead, Mr. Wong goes to the table by the window and finds the residue of the gas filled sphere in what would have been plain sight.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 »
9 out of 11 people found the following review useful.
A delightful surprise for film buffs: Boris Karloff is Mr. Wong, Detective, 6 April 2003
Author: marxi from Louisville, Kentucky

This obscure little movie is a delightful surprise for film buffs. The surprise is Boris Karloff in the role of the well mannered oriental detective. Yes, this is the same Boris Karloff who was Frankenstein the monster! He manages the role as if it were a well worn and comfortable pair of houseshoes, and it becomes unimportant, quickly forgotten and insignificant that a nonoriental is Mr. Wong.

A business man gets involved with a deal involving poison gas. When he is inexplicably found dead in his office under suspicious circumstances, Detective Street (Grant Withers) is called in on the case. The sharp tongued detective Street looks for the blatant and obvious clues, while he often misses what is going on beneath the surface in this mysterious case. Mr. Wong, a well known detective who was acquainted with the victim, begins to notice clues that Detective Street overlooks. The body count begins to mount as the partners of the dead business man also begin to die under strange circumstances. Mr. Wong must keep his mind open in this thriller when the obvious suspect first seems guilty, then innocent as other suspects turn up including a sinister Baron and a Countess. Maxine Jennings is great as Detective Streets lady friend, Myra. Snappy dialogue and good actors move the story along at a good clip. There are a couple of scenes that are shot in poor lighting, but they don't hinder this very good entry in the 1930's detective genre of movies.

This will be an entertaining movie for film buffs. I give it an 8/10.

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