Phantom of Chinatown (1940)

Approved  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  18 November 1940 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 285 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.



(screenplay) (as Joseph West) , (original story) (as Ralph Bettinson) , 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Win Len
Charles Miller ...
Dr. John Benton / Cyrus Benton in Newspaper (as Charles Miller)
Huntley Gordon ...
Dr. Norman Wilkes
Virginia Carpenter ...
Louise Benton
Charlie Frasier (as John H. Dilson)
Paul McVey ...
Detective Grady
John Holland ...
Richard Terry ...
Toreno (as Dick Terry)
Robert Kellard ...
Tommy Dean
Willy Castello ...
Jonas (as William Castello)
Lee Tung Foo ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A thousand suspects... 20 fingerprints... a Chinese temple... Mr. Wong solves a murder! See more »






Release Date:

18 November 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Het spook van Chinatown  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Possibly the very first instance where Hollywood produced a 'prequel,' because this last entry in the series depicts the first meeting between Mr. Wong and Capt. Street. See more »


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 »


Follows The Fatal Hour (1940) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Luke vs. Karloff
1 December 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Not a major film, but interesting for it's unique elements. Boris Karloff made some "Wong" films and was criticised for not affecting a Chinese accent. But here we have a real Chinese actor playing the Chinese detective role and he didn't go for the Chinese accent either. Neither does the Chinese leading lady. Maybe that's why they didn't make another "Wong" with this cast; audiences probably didn't want to be challenged by the notion of foreigners who could speak English as well as anyone else.

the George Washington bit was a surprise. I had to rewind just to see if I had actually heard what I thought I heard.

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