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Phantom of Chinatown (1940)

6.2
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 263 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 7 critic

Detective James Lee Wong is on the scene as archaeologist Dr. John Benton, recently returned from an expedition in China where a valuable ancient scroll was recovered, is murdered while giving a lecture on the expedition.

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(screenplay) (as Joseph West) , (original story) (as Ralph Bettinson) , 1 more credit »
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Title: Phantom of Chinatown (1940)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Win Len
Grant Withers ...
Charles Miller ...
Dr. John Benton / Cyrus Benton in Newspaper (as Charles Miller)
Huntley Gordon ...
Dr. Norman Wilkes
Virginia Carpenter ...
Louise Benton
John Dilson ...
Charlie Frasier (as John H. Dilson)
Paul McVey ...
Detective Grady
John Holland ...
Mason
Richard Terry ...
Toreno (as Dick Terry)
Robert Kellard ...
Tommy Dean
Willy Castello ...
Jonas (as William Castello)
Lee Tung Foo ...
Foo
Edit

Storyline

In the middle of a pictorial lecture on his recent expedition to the Mongolian Desert, Dr. John Benton the famous explorer, drinks from the water bottle on his lecture table, collapses and dies. His last words "Eternal Fire" are the only clue Chinese detective Jimmy Wong and Captain Street of the police department have to work on. Win Lee, Benton's secretary, reveals the doctor's dying words refer to a scroll which tells the location of rich oil deposits. Wong and Street then begin the search for the killer among Benton's associates. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Slight Case Of Murder... Solved by Jimmy Wong! See more »


Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 November 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Het spook van Chinatown  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the only Hollywood film of the period in which an Asian detective was played by, and top billing was given to, an actor (Keye Luke) who was actually Asian. See more »

Quotes

James Lee Wong: Greetings. Only the eyebrows of youth would have the temerity to call the beard of age at such an hour.
See more »

Connections

Follows Doomed to Die (1940) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Keye Luke is Wonderful!
10 October 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

No offense to Boris Karloff, who had previously played Mr. Wong, but this film shows how an "oriental" action-thriller can be improved by casting a gifted Chinese actor in the role. Keye Luke is handsome, charming, dashing, brave, clever, and just downright sexy as James Lee Wong, and he meets his perfect match in Lotus Long, the mysterious Chinese secretary of a famous Anglo-American archaeologist. The ending, which would have featured some romance between Luke and Long had they both been Caucasians, is still satisfying, as Luke shows his feelings for Long with his eyes and smile. Lee Tung Foo also deserves mention in a fun turn as Wong's servant. Of the many oriental-exploitation films of the era, this is perhaps the best, featuring some fine Asian art objects, superb set decoration, social commentary about Westerm archaeological appropriation of cultural treasures, unusual documentary footage of an expedition to Mongolia, and real Chinese people playing Chinese people. It's by no means an "A" picture, and seeing the star-god Shou depicted as a "god of vengeance" is silly, but "Phantom of Chinatown" deserves a better reputation than others of its ilk.


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