IMDb > Drums of Fu Manchu (1940)
Drums of Fu Manchu
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Drums of Fu Manchu (1940) More at IMDbPro »


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7.3/10   214 votes »
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Sax Rohmer (book)
Franklin Adreon (original screenplay) ...
View company contact information for Drums of Fu Manchu on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
15 March 1940 (USA) See more »
RUTHLESS DICTATORSHIP (original ad - all caps) See more »
The nefarious Dr. Fu Manchu searches for the keys to the tomb of Genghis Khan, in order to fulfill a... See more » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Another Great Republic Serial! See more (10 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Henry Brandon ... Dr. Fu Manchu
William Royle ... Sir Dennis Nayland Smith
Robert Kellard ... Allan Parker
Gloria Franklin ... Fah-Lo-Suee
Olaf Hytten ... Dr. Flinders Petrie
Tom Chatterton ... Prof. Edward Randolph
Luana Walters ... Mary Randolph
Lal Chand Mehra ... Sirdar Prahni [Chs 9-10]
George Cleveland ... Dr. James Parker [Ch.1]

John Dilson ... Prof. Ezra Howard [Chs.5-6]
John Merton ... Loki

Dwight Frye ... Prof. Anderson [Ch.5]
Wheaton Chambers ... Dr. Humphrey [Chs.2-3]
George Pembroke ... C.W. Crawford
Guy D'Ennery ... Ranah Sang [Chs.1,7; b.g.4]
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lowden Adams ... Blake, Randolph's Assistant [Ch. 1] (uncredited)
Philip Ahn ... Dr. Chang [Ch.4] (uncredited)
John Bagni ... Dangra - Spy at Fort [Ch.8] (uncredited)
Ann Baldwin ... Miss Frisbie - Winchester's Secretary [Ch.1] (uncredited)
Robert Blair ... Police Sergeant at Randolph's [Ch. 1] (uncredited)
George Bruggeman ... Fort Telegrapher [Ch.13] (uncredited)
Budd Buster ... Dacoit 2 on Train [Chs.1-2] (uncredited)
Tommy Coats ... Dacoit 13 in Asia [Chs.9-12] (uncredited)
Victor Cox ... Tartar [Chs. 14-15] (uncredited)
Joe De Stefani ... High Lhama [Ch.15] (uncredited)
Art Dillard ... Dacoit 7 at Headquarters [Chs.3-6] (uncredited)
Bert Dillard ... Dacoit 16 in Fu Manchu's Hut [Ch.14-15] (uncredited)
Akim Dobrynin ... Solar Mirror Native [Ch.9] (uncredited)
Frank Ellis ... Tartar [Chs. 14-15] (uncredited)
James Fawcett ... Dacoit (uncredited)
James Flatley ... Pegai, Dacoit 4 [Chs.1-2] (uncredited)
Augie Gomez ... Wax Museum Dacoit (uncredited)
Jennifer Gray ... Stewardess [Ch.6] (uncredited)
Duke Green ... Clay Street Dacoit 6 [Ch. 2] (uncredited)
Alan Gregg ... Dacoit 5 Pilot [Chs.1, 3-4] (uncredited)
Jamiel Hasson ... Tribal Chieftain [Chs.12-14; b.g.1,4,7-8] (uncredited)
John Lester Johnson ... Cardo, Howard's Servant [Ch.5] (uncredited)
John Judd ... Dacoit 17 in Fu Manchu's Hut [Chs.14-15] (uncredited)
Edward Kaye ... Dacoit 3 on Wires [Ch.1] (uncredited)
Bert LeBaron ... Railroad Fireman [Chs.1-2] (uncredited)
James B. Leong ... Chinese Si Fan Member [Chs.1,4,7-8,14] (uncredited)
Eric Lonsdale ... Sentry [Ch.8] (uncredited)
Paul Marion ... Si-Fan Messenger at Hotel [Ch.7] (uncredited)
Merrill McCormick ... Koomerow's Aide [Ch.13, background] (uncredited)
John Meredith ... Fort Gate Sentry [Ch. 13] (uncredited)
Tofik Mickey ... Hindu Si Fan Member [Chs.1,4,7-8,14] (uncredited)
Jack Montgomery ... Cleanshaven Villainous Native [Chs.13-14] (uncredited)
Norman Nesbitt ... Wally Winchester [Ch. 1] (uncredited)
Bill Nind ... Lhama's Telegrapher [Ch.13] (uncredited)
Tony Paton ... Temple Guard [Chs.9-10] (uncredited)
Charles Phillips ... Railroad Mail Car Clerk [Ch.1] (uncredited)
John Picorri ... Prof. Krantz [Ch.6] (uncredited)
Paul Renay ... Nihala Tribe Chief Kandhar [Chs.14-15] (uncredited)
Vinegar Roan ... Dacoit 11 in Temple, Killed by Arrow [Chs.9-10] (uncredited)
Jack Roper ... Dacoit 10 Looking in Window [Ch.4] (uncredited)
Hector V. Sarno ... Scarred Native (uncredited)
Ernest Sarracino ... Dowlah Rao - Arrested Dacoit 9 [Ch.5] (uncredited)
Carl Sepulveda ... Mustachio'd Villainous Native [Chs.13-14] (uncredited)
Lee Shumway ... Police Lieutenant Corrigan at Wax Museum [Ch.5] (uncredited)
Robert R. Stephenson ... Tartar Si Fan Member [Chs.1,4,7-8,14] (uncredited)
Walter Stiritz ... Koomerow's Aide [Ch.13, background] (uncredited)
Harry Strang ... Police Lt. Wade at Winchester's Office [Ch.1] (uncredited)

George Suzanne ... Dacoit (uncredited)
Al Taylor ... Dacoit 8 at Headquarters, Howard's and Lee's [Chs.4-6] (uncredited)
Ken Terrell ... Shanghai St. / Wax Museum Dacoit 18 [Chs. 1, 5] (uncredited)
Evan Thomas ... Maj. Carlton [Chs.8,13-15] (uncredited)
Kam Tong ... Crawford's Manservant [Ch.7] (uncredited)
Michael Vallon ... Temple Guard [Chs.9-10] (uncredited)
Francis Walker ... Koomerow, Lhama's Emissary [Ch.13] (uncredited)
John Ward ... British Consul Wilson [Ch.7] (uncredited)
Frank Wayne ... Dacoit 14 with Microphone [Chs.10-12] (uncredited)

Ted Wells ... Dacoit 15 Wearing Hat [Chs. 11-13] (uncredited)
Bill Wilkus ... Dacoit 12 in Temple [Chs.9-10] (uncredited)
Henry Wills ... Tartar [Chs. 14-15] (uncredited)
Bob Woodward ... Tribesman (uncredited)
Bill Yrigoyen ... Hillsman with Knife [Chs.12-13] (uncredited)
Joe Yrigoyen ... Dacoit (uncredited)

Directed by
John English 
William Witney 
Writing credits
Sax Rohmer (book)

Franklin Adreon (original screenplay) and
Morgan Cox (original screenplay) (as Morgan B. Cox) and
Ronald Davidson (original screenplay) and
Norman S. Hall (original screenplay) and
Barney A. Sarecky (original screenplay) and
Sol Shor (original screenplay)

Produced by
Hiram S. Brown Jr. .... associate producer
Original Music by
Cy Feuer 
Karl Hajos (uncredited)
William Lava (uncredited)
Paul Sawtell (uncredited)
Cinematography by
William Nobles (photography)
Film Editing by
William P. Thompson  (as William Thompson)
Edward Todd 
Art Direction by
John Victor Mackay 
Set Decoration by
Morris Braun (uncredited)
Makeup Department
Bob Mark .... makeup supervisor (uncredited)
Production Management
Mack D'Agostino .... unit manager
Al Wilson .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Louis Germonprez .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Daniel J. Bloomberg .... sound (uncredited)
Charles L. Lootens .... sound (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Howard Lydecker .... special effects (uncredited)
Theodore Lydecker .... special effects (uncredited)
Tommy Coats .... stunts (uncredited)
James Fawcett .... stunts (uncredited)
Duke Green .... stunt double: George Pembroke (uncredited)
Bert LeBaron .... stunts (uncredited)
David Sharpe .... stunt double: Robert Kellard (uncredited)
Ken Terrell .... stunts (uncredited)
Ted Wells .... stunts (uncredited)
Henry Wills .... stunts (uncredited)
Bob Woodward .... stunts (uncredited)
Bill Yrigoyen .... stunts (uncredited)
Joe Yrigoyen .... stunts (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Adele Palmer .... wardrobe supervisor (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
269 min (15 chapters)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA High Fidelity Recording)
UK:U | USA:Approved | USA:Passed (National Board of Review)

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) RevoltSee more »
Movie Connections:


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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
Another Great Republic Serial!, 3 January 2004
Author: ( from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

"Drums of Fu Manchu" is another of the great serials turned out by Republic Pictures in the early 40s, in the days before the studio started relying on extensive stock footage in order to cut costs. This entry though, has the look of a big budget. It contains the expected superior Republic stuntwork and action sequences. It includes a spectacular train wreck (with no apparent sympathy for those who would have been killed), a giant realistic looking octopus and the swinging pendulum torture device borrowed from Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum". The story involves the diabolical Fu Manchu's (Henry Brandon) efforts to secure the long lost scepter of Genghis Khan with which he hopes to gain control of various Himalayan tribes which in turn will lead him to eventual world domination. Opposing him are his long time nemesis Sir Nayland Smith (William Royle) and his young partner Allen Parker (Robert Kellard).

Fu Manchu is aided by his sinister daughter Fah Lo Suee (Gloria Franklin) and a band of "Dacoits", who are lobotomized zombie like creatures (complete with fangs) that obey Fu Manchu's orders without question. Over the course of 15 action packed chapters, Fu Manchu and Sir Nayland and Allen follow the clues to the location of the scepter from America to the Chinese mainland. Each foil the other's attempts to find the scepter at every turn. Finally, the scepter is found and Fu Manchu and his adversaries try to outsmart each other amid several exciting chapter ending cliff hangers until justice is finally served in Chapter 15.

Henry Brandon's career dated back to the Laurel and Hardy 1934 comedy "March of the Wooden Soldiers (as Henry Kleinbach). He makes a perfect Fu Manchu. He was a tall and imposing figure and with the aid of oriental makeup, was a truly menacing figure. Although a sequel was planned to this serial, it was shelved when the U.S.A. entered WWII. Brandon enjoyed a long and varied career playing mostly villains until the late 80s. He is perhaps best remembered for his role as the Indian chief "Scar" in John Ford's "The Searchers" (1956).

Robert Kellard was along to handle the action as Sir Nayland Smith was a middle aged character, The fact that Kellard resembled Republic's ace stuntman David Sharpe was no coincidence either. Sharpe visibly doubled Kellard in the action scenes. Also in the cast are George Cleveland as Parker's father, John Merton (barely recognizable as a fang-toothed Dacoit) and Dwight Frye (underutilized again) as a museum director.

An excellent serial. Too bad they never got to make the sequel.

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