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Mr. Wong in Chinatown (1939)

 -  Mystery  -  1 August 1939 (USA)
5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 379 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 5 critic

A pretty Chinese woman, seeking help from San Francisco detective James Lee Wong, is killed by a poisoned dart in his front hall, having time only to scrawl "Captain J" on a sheet of paper.... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (characters: series in Collier's Magazine)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Marjorie Reynolds ...
Roberta 'Bobbie' Logan
Grant Withers ...
Huntley Gordon ...
Mr. Davidson
George Lynn ...
Capt. Guy Jackson (as Peter George Lynn)
William Royle ...
Capt. Jaime
James Flavin ...
Police Sgt. Jerry
...
Princess Lin Hwa
Lee Tung Foo ...
Willie (as Lee Tong Foo)
Bessie Loo ...
Lilly May
Richard Loo ...
Tong Chief
Ernie Stanton ...
Burton
Edit

Storyline

A pretty Chinese woman, seeking help from San Francisco detective James Lee Wong, is killed by a poisoned dart in his front hall, having time only to scrawl "Captain J" on a sheet of paper. She proves to be Princess Lin Hwa, on a secret military mission for Chinese forces fighting the Japanese invasion. Mr. Wong finds two captains with the intial J in the case, neither being quite what he seems; there's fog on the waterfront and someone still has that poison-dart gun... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Mystery

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 August 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mr. Wong no Bairro ChinĂªs  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The third of the 6-film series, and the first to feature Marjorie Reynolds as Captain Street's reporter girlfriend. Later remade as a Charlie Chan feature, The Chinese Ring (1947). See more »

Goofs

When Street and Logan arrive at Davidson's house, the supposedly-dead dogs are clearly breathing as Street kneels to examine them. See more »

Connections

Followed by The Fatal Hour (1940) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Watchable but not great
22 December 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

For Boris Karloff fans Mr Wong in Chinatown makes for good curiosity value and has good things that makes it a little more than that. Mr Wong in Chinatown is far from bad and Karloff has certainly done worse(look at the Mexican films he did) but he has also done better and deserved better. If asked whether Mr Wong in Chinatown is recommended, I'd say yes but only partially. There are some good things, Karloff is still commanding and gives a very good performance(as said many times by me one of those actors that gave his all regardless of the material). Marjorie Reynolds is the other, and in a way only other, standout in the cast, she brings a great deal of sass to Logan and really spices things up but deserved better material to do so more. Some of the sparring-constant- between her and Grant Withers is entertaining. The closing gag is great. The music has its jauntiness and eeriness. The sets are appropriate and nicely done. And Lotus Long while killed off quickly, perhaps too quickly, she makes for a sensual presence and makes things promising to begin with. However, while the sparring between Reynolds and Withers is fun their chemistry could have been better, aside from their dialogue the chemistry doesn't gel. And Withers to me is the problem, his performance more scenery-chewing rather than subtle and often of the worst kind, the shouting and frozen facial expressions did get annoying after a while. The photography is serviceable but could have been more fluid, the low-budget does show. Outside of the verbal sparring and the closing gag, the dialogue does come across as stilted and could have developed things more. The story shows good potential but peters out after the beginning but picks up at the final solution, which is a nice surprise, the mystery did feel weak because of the dull pacing(the film did feel longer than it was), lack of suspense and tension, the lacking dialogue and that really only two performances stood out. It also got very routine and didn't contain that many surprises. In conclusion, a watchable film with interest points but not great, one of the weaker entries of the series. 5.5/10 Bethany Cox


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