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The Fatal Hour (1940)

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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 587 users  
Reviews: 28 user | 8 critic

When Captain Street's best friend Dan O'Grady is murdered, Street enlists the help of Chinese detective James Lee Wong. Mr. Wong uncovers a smuggling ring on the waterfront of San Francisco... See full summary »



(screenplay), (adaptation), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Fatal Hour (1940)

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Complete credited cast:
Marjorie Reynolds ...
Roberta 'Bobbie' Logan
Grant Withers ...
Charles Trowbridge ...
John T. Forbes
Frank Puglia ...
Harry 'Hardway' Lockett
Craig Reynolds ...
Frank Belden, Jr.
Tanya Serova
Harry Strang ...
Det. Ballard
Hooper Atchley ...
Frank Belden Sr.
Jason Robards Sr. ...
Griswold (as Jason Robards)
Richard Loo ...
Jack Kennedy ...
Mike, Police Sergeant


When Captain Street's best friend Dan O'Grady is murdered, Street enlists the help of Chinese detective James Lee Wong. Mr. Wong uncovers a smuggling ring on the waterfront of San Francisco and unmasks the killer, though not until several more murders occur. Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 January 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Fatal Hour  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Filming began November 28 1939, the fourth of the 6-film series, which Boris Karloff quickly followed with "Black Friday." See more »


Capt. Bill Street: I'll see you later.
Roberta 'Bobbie' Logan: Not me, flatfoot. Get one of the nurses out of the receiving hospital. They don't mind a pain in the neck.
See more »


Edited into Muchachada nui: Episode #1.12 (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Nice, fast moving mystery
3 September 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Now here's a good mystery film starring Boris Karloff as Inspector Wong, 'the Chinese Copper' as one non-PC character calls him. Here, he's helping out the San Francisco police track down the killer of an undercover cop, who's been killed while working for a smuggling racket. Wong teams up with Detective Street and a journalist named Logan (well, she always snooping around at least) and heads off to the place the copper was last seen – The Neptune Bar.

The owner of the bar, Hard Way Harry, is a wise guy who looks like he did for the copper, but there are other spanners in the works – A piece of jade Wong finds leads him to a jeweller who's in debt, and who's son is hanging around the Neptune Bar with a piece of skirt Hard Way Harry knows. At first I was scratching my head trying to understand what was going on (and spending a lot of time wondering what age Jason Robards would be when he appeared – turned out it was his dad…I'm so stupid), but then things start to gel as the killer started taking out some witnesses and what not.

So Wong's got a race against time to find out who the killer actually is (the killer even kills a guy at the police station) - eventually he figures it out, but even then he might be too late as the killer has figured him out too! This quick moving thriller was a lot of fun to watch, as there's plenty of red herrings, twists, and suspenseful noir-ish set pieces to enjoy. A nice surprise, this one, as I expected to be a bit bored (it's another non-horror included in Mill Creek's 50 Horror Classics - essential for folks curious about old films).

There's your plug, Mill Creek - send money to Bezenby, 12 Biscuit Island, Button Moon.

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