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The Terror of the Tongs (1961)

Not Rated | | Action, Adventure | 15 March 1961 (USA)
In 1910, Hong Kong members of a secret Tong crime syndicate protect their identities by murdering the daughter of a British sea captain who vows revenge.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Chung King
Yvonne Monlaur ...
Lee
Geoffrey Toone ...
Capt. Jackson Sale
...
Beggar
Brian Worth ...
District Commissioner Harcourt
Ewen Solon ...
Tang How - Tong Leader's Aide
Roger Delgado ...
Tang Hao, tong enforcer
Richard Leech ...
Insp. Bob Dean
Charles Lloyd Pack ...
Dr. Fu Chao, tong member
Marie Burke ...
Maya
Barbara Brown ...
Helena Sale
...
Mr. Ming
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tom Gill ...
Beamish
...
Confucius (as Eric Young)
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Storyline

A secret society of Hong-Kong at the beginning of the century called "The Red Dragon Tong" kidnaps the captain of a ship in the harbour of Hong-Kong as he tries to detain the killers of his daughter. Because the secret society is very powerful it is not easy to free him from their hands. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE BONE BLEEDING NEEDLE TORTURE BY THE TONGS! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Action | Adventure

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 March 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Terror of the Hatchet Men  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)| (Eastmancolor) (UK prints)| (USA, theatrical prints)| (Technicolor) (USA, TV prints)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Christopher Lee reported to work on the film after a vacation in Northern Italy with a deep tan, which was problematic for the make-up department as his character was supposed to have very pale skin. See more »

Quotes

Tang Hao, tong enforcer: [to Jackson as he fakes illness to pull a gun] You underestimate the Oriental mind, Captain. The Chinese theater is the oldest in the world.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE TERROR OF THE TONGS (Anthony Bushell, 1961) ***
2 August 2008 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Surprisingly, I quite liked this atypical Hammer offering, which is basically a companion piece to THE STRANGLERS OF BOMBAY (1960) – with the setting changed to 1910s China, and the vicious “thuggees” replaced with the equally murderous Red Dragon Tongs. As a matter of fact, one might say that the script for STRANGLERS served as a virtual template for this one – to which Hammer then assigned Jimmy Sangster, their in-house scribe, in order to apply the necessary alterations (though, in the long run, the former still emerges as the better picture of the two)! With this in mind, THE TERROR OF THE TONGS likewise thrives on violent acts (with the exploitation factor increased a notch in this case thanks to the compulsively sleazy atmosphere of taverns and opium dens) – and the hero, too, is eventually subdued to excruciating torture but saved at the last minute.

Interestingly, Christopher Lee’s role as the Tong leader anticipates his later Fu Manchu characterization – which he played in five low-budget outings (of gradually decreasing merits) throughout the second half of the decade. While the gaunt actor is always worth watching, here he seems to be acting through his voice alone – as his character is usually depicted sitting down and ordering his underlings about (even when finally cornered, he keeps a thoroughly calm demeanor)! Geoffrey Toone is an agreeable hero, being unusually brawny: he goes after the Tongs after they callously murder his teenage daughter; later, he saves slave girl Yvonne Monlaur from their clutches – the French actress (who was also in THE BRIDES OF Dracula and CIRCUS OF HORRORS {both 1960}) is a delightful presence in the film, even if her role seldom rises above that of the ‘servile Oriental’ stereotype! Supporting characters include a crippled beggar (played by Marne Maitland, who was also in STRANGLERS) who’s secretly organizing opposition to the Tongs – and has no qualms about exploiting Toone’s personal tragedy to this end!; returning from the earlier film, too, is Roger Delgado – who virtually replicates his part of the chief villain’s closest henchman!

Ultimately, THE TERROR OF THE TONGS looks very good in color and is generally pacy at just 76 minutes; by the way, director Bushell had himself been an actor – numbering genre roles such as the bland hero of THE GHOUL (1933) and the ill-fated snobbish Colonel in the QUATERMASS AND THE PIT (1958) TV serial among his resume'.


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