Doomed to Die (1940)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  12 August 1940 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 684 users  
Reviews: 32 user | 8 critic

Mr. Wong and a girl reporter investigate a shipping magnate's murder.



(screenplay) (as Michel Jacoby) , (adaptation) (as Ralph Bettinson) , 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Marjorie Reynolds ...
William Stelling ...
Dick Fleming
Catherine Craig ...
Cynthia Wentworth
Guy Usher ...
Paul Fleming
Attorney Victor Martin
Melvin Lang ...
Cyrus B. Wentworth
Wilbur Mack ...
Kenneth Harlan ...
Richard Loo ...
Tong Leader


Shipping magnate Cyrus Wentworth, downcast over a disaster to his ocean liner 'Wentworth Castle' (carrying, oddly enough, an illicit shipment of Chinese bonds) is shot in his the very moment of kicking out his daughter's fiance Dick Fleming. Of course, Captain Street arrests Dick, but reporter Bobbie Logan, the attractive thorn in Street's side, is so convinced he's wrong that she enlists the help of detective James Lee Wong to find the real killer. Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The master of crime cleans up the dirty game of murder!


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

12 August 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Condannato a morte  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The images of the burning of the fictitious liner Wentworth Castle is taken from actual news footage of the burning of the liner SS Morro Castle. The Morro Castle caught fire on 8 September 1934 during a trip from Havana to New York. The heavy loss of life combined with the beaching of the gutted hulk in New Jersey made it one of the biggest news stories of the day. See more »


In the Tong room scene with Wong, it's obvious that all of the scene, except the "Wentworth Castle" dialogue, was re-used from a previous Wong movie. The most notable clue is the Tong leader changing appearance between shots. See more »


Roberta 'Bobbie' Logan: So you still think you've solved it, huh?
Capt. William Street: That's right, I do. Young Fleming did it and if he didn't, I'll eat my hat.
Roberta 'Bobbie' Logan: I'll see that you do.
See more »


Followed by Phantom of Chinatown (1940) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Fair Amount Of Fun
24 July 2006 | by (Manitoba, Canada) – See all my reviews

Once you get past the notion of Boris Karloff as a Chinese detective, "Doomed to Die" offers a fair amount of fun. The famed James Lee Wong (Karloff) is hot on the trail of whoever pulled the trigger on shipping magnate Cyrus P. Wentworth (Melvin Lang). What initially looks like an open-and-shut case soon proves much more complex as Wong endures bullets, dead bodies and a constant questioning of his competence to get to the elusive (and completely unpredictable) truth.

Adding some welcome comic relief are hard-nosed policeman Bill Street (Grant Withers) and the ultimate thorn in his side, eager reporter Bobbie Logan (Marjorie Reynolds). Though they've been copied a hundred times in the more than 65 years since this picture was released, their antics are enjoyable and occasionally quite funny due to the duo's strong chemistry.

Overall, it's a little clichéd, confusing and at times slow, but "Doomed to Die" is perfect for a rainy night. It has a certain old movie/Scooby Doo charm even viewers who don't go for black-and-whiters can appreciate.

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