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Drums of Fu Manchu (1940)

 -  Action | Adventure  -  15 March 1940 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 195 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 8 critic

The nefarious Dr. Fu Manchu searches for the keys to the tomb of Genghis Khan, in order to fulfill a prophecy that will enable him to conquer the world. His nemesis, Dr. Nayland Smith, and ... See full summary »


(book), (original screenplay), 5 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
William Royle ...
Robert Kellard ...
Allan Parker
Gloria Franklin ...
Olaf Hytten ...
Tom Chatterton ...
Luana Walters ...
Lal Chand Mehra ...
George Cleveland ...
John Dilson ...
John Merton ...
Prof. Anderson [Ch.5]
Wheaton Chambers ...
Dr. Humphrey [Chs.2-3]
George Pembroke ...
C.W. Crawford - Si Fan member [Chs.1,4,7-8]
Guy D'Ennery ...


The nefarious Dr. Fu Manchu searches for the keys to the tomb of Genghis Khan, in order to fulfill a prophecy that will enable him to conquer the world. His nemesis, Dr. Nayland Smith, and his associates fight to keep the evil doctor from getting his hands on the keys. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


RUTHLESS DICTATORSHIP (original ad - all caps) See more »


Action | Adventure


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 March 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fu Manchu  »

Box Office


$166,312 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(15 chapters)

Sound Mix:

(RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Chapter Titles: 1) Fu Manchu Strikes, 2) The Monster, 3) Ransom in the Sky, 4) The Pendulum of Doom, 5) The House of Terror, 6) Death Dials a Number, 7) Vengeance of the Si Fan, 8) Danger Trail, 9) The Crystal of Death, 10) Drums of Doom, 11) The Tomb of Genghis Khan, 12) Fire of Vengeance, 13) The Devil's Tattoo, 14) Satan's Surgeon, 15) Revolt See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening Credits: The Main Actors are depicted as coming from an incense burner. See more »


Follows Aaron's Rod (1923) See more »

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User Reviews

Good Effort, But Three (3) Chapters To Long...
7 January 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Sax Rohmer, author and creator of FU MANCHU conceived the enduring Criminal Master-Mind aided by Super-Science. One whose ambitions ranged further then Sir Arthur Conan Doyles, PROFESSOR MORIARTY or later Norbert Jacques, DR. MABUSE. Continental, if not World conquest was his objective. His descendent's can be traced to Flash Gordon's THE EMPEROR MING along with Marvel Comic-Book Super-Villains THE MANDARIN and THE YELLOW CLAW. FU MANCHU's primary goal is to drive out "THE WHITE DEVILS" and reward his minions with their 'WHITE WOMEN'. Sounds like some current minority political opportunists or those athlete's with their 'White Trophy Wives'!

The best known version, THE MASK OF FU MANCHU, M.G.M. (1932) featured all these concepts since it was pre-code. Actor Boris Karloff firmly setting the pattern of how a would be Conquerer should act. DRUMS OF FU MANCHU, Republic (1940) continued in a somewhat toned down manner being a code film. Henry Brandon ably handled the role though barely recognizable under his make-up and altered voice. Unfortunately his supporting cast was not up too his level and the script stretched the serial three (3) chapters to many. Though as was typical of Republic product of the time it featured plenty of fast paced action.

This is still a enjoyable Serial but would not rate it as high as the FLASH GORDON franchise. Nor Republics best efforts like the ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN MARVEL (1941), G-MEN vs THE BLACK DRAGON (1943) or THE MASKED MARVEL (1943). Our copy came courtesy of VCI ENTERTAINMENT. The DVD is satisfactorily remastered, but not restored. Some of the early chapters are very soft and the sound quality is uneven. It is obvious that original masters were not used or were in very poor condition. To see the difference, compare D.O.F.M. with their 70th Anniversary Edition of BUCK ROGERS, Universal (1939), which we rate the same. B.R. though went through a significant restoration and it shows it.

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