IMDb > Sax Rohmer's The Castle of Fu Manchu (1969)
The Castle of Fu Manchu
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Sax Rohmer's The Castle of Fu Manchu (1969) More at IMDbPro »The Castle of Fu Manchu (original title)

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Overview

User Rating:
2.6/10   1,310 votes »
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Down 7% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Jaime Jesús Balcázar (dialogue: Spanish version)
Manfred Barthel (screenplay)
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Contact:
View company contact information for Sax Rohmer's The Castle of Fu Manchu on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1972 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
He's Back!!! The World's Most Evil Man with a Fiendish Plan of Conquest
Plot:
An evil Chinese mastermind plots to freeze the Earth's oceans. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Dry ice, Rosco fog, and blood. See more (31 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Christopher Lee ... Fu Manchu
Richard Greene ... Nayland Smith
Howard Marion-Crawford ... Doctor Petrie (as Howard Marion Crawford)
Günther Stoll ... Curt (as Gunther Stoll)
Rosalba Neri ... Lisa

Maria Perschy ... Marie
José Manuel Martín ... Omar Pashu (as Jose Manuel Martin)
Werner Abrolat ... Melnik (as Werner Aprelat)

Tsai Chin ... Lin Tang
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Stanley Baker ... Running Man (archive footage)

Dirk Bogarde ... Running Man (archive footage)
David de Keyser ... of Omar Pasha and others (voice)
Robert Rietty ... of Curt and others (voice)

Jesús Franco ... Inspector Ahmet (uncredited)
Osvaldo Genazzani ... Sir Robert (uncredited)

Burt Kwouk ... Feno (uncredited)
Gustavo Re ... Professor Heracles (uncredited)
Gene Reyes ... Ahmet's Aide (uncredited)
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Directed by
Jesús Franco  (as Jess Franco)
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Jaime Jesús Balcázar  dialogue: Spanish version
Manfred Barthel  screenplay
Manfred Barthel  story
Michael Haller  uncredited in English version
Sax Rohmer  characters
Harry Alan Towers  screenplay (as Peter Welbeck)

Produced by
Harry Alan Towers .... producer
Jaime Jesús Balcázar .... producer (uncredited in English version)
 
Original Music by
Charles Camilleri 
Malcomb Shelby 
 
Cinematography by
Manuel Merino 
 
Film Editing by
John Colville 
 
Production Design by
Santiago Ontañón  (as Santiago Ontanon)
 
Costume Design by
Berenice Sparano 
 
Makeup Department
Ascensión Hernández .... assistant makeup artist
Adrián Jaramillo .... key makeup artist
Peter Jonas .... assistant makeup artist
Vicenta Salvadó .... hair stylist (as Vicenta Salvador)
 
Production Management
Juan Estelrich .... production manager (as Juan Estelriech)
Remo Odevaine .... production leader
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Federico Canudas .... assistant director
Ricardo Franco .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Adrian McDonald .... dubbing editor
Tommy Myers .... dubbing mixer
Hermann Storr .... sound editor
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Helga Lange .... assistant wardrobe
María Luisa Soriano .... wardrobe (as Maruja Soriano)
 
Editorial Department
María Luisa Soriano .... supervising editor
 
Music Department
Charles Camilleri .... conductor
 
Other crew
Herminia Arnau .... script supervisor
Bruno Leder .... production assistant
Lamberto Palmieri .... production assistant
Ginés Rodríguez .... production assistant
 

Production CompaniesDistributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The Castle of Fu Manchu" - West Germany (original title)
See more »
Runtime:
Germany:85 min | Spain:92 min | USA:92 min | USA:92 min (DVD version)
Language:
Color:
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Australia:M | Canada:G (Quebec) | Germany:12 (DVD rating) | Netherlands:14 (1970) | Singapore:PG | Singapore:NC-16 (DVD rating) | UK:PG | USA:PG | West Germany:12 (nf)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The fifth and final Christopher Lee Fu Manchu film.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: On the boat in the harbor, after Inspector Ahmet tells Dr. Petrie to contact the Home Secretary's office, the sky and weather shift abruptly from blindingly sunny and clear to dark, overcast and windy with choppy seas (as if it were about to rain) for the shots of the scarf.See more »
Quotes:
Fu Manchu:[Over the radio] This is my ultimatum; within the next few hours the Bosphorus and the city of Istanbul will be destroyed.
Dr. Petrie:It's not true! It can't be true!
Inspector Ahmet:Doctor Petrie, calm yourself.
Fu Manchu:[Over the radio] The powers of the world have relied upon one man: Nayland-Smith. Nayland-Smith is dead.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in The Fall of Fu Manchu (2003) (V)See more »

FAQ

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful.
Dry ice, Rosco fog, and blood., 3 May 2009
Author: monoceros4 from United States

It boggles the mind that anyone could possibly defend this movie as some sort of lost classic or claim that people only say it's bad because it was on "Mystery Science Theater". When *two* lengthy scenes in a movie consist largely of footage borrowed from better movies, and when both of those scenes could be removed without anyone noticing the break, you know that the director's aim was to exert himself as little as possible to get the required length of film in the can. Anyone here with a burning zeal to uphold the reputation of THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU against its boorish detractors is almost certainly exerting more effort on the movie's behalf than Jess Franco ever did.

Nevertheless, the film is not among the all-time worst. Roger Ebert is correct when he says, "There's probably a level of competence beneath which bad directors cannot fall....they've got to come up with something that can at least be advertised as a motion picture, released and forgotten." It can be safely conjectured that this was just what Jess Franco wanted. The dialogue is passable, the acting (what little is needed) is serviceable, and occasionally the editing actually drums up something like tension.

So if no one aspect of THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU is really *that* bad, why is watching the whole film such a chore? A bad movie can be difficult to watch, but an *aggressively* mediocre one can be worse. When Roger Corman cranked out his listless, paint-by-numbers adventures and fantasy movies, at least he had the excuses of working with zero budget, a cast of third-stringers, and shooting schedules permitting him maybe a week's use of a sound stage. I'm guessing that Franco's budget was scarcely greater, but he had a decent cast and enough freedom for location shooting in more than one country. Yet he produced a movie as uninspired and perfunctory as Corman did at his worst. What was Franco thinking?

The plot seems almost to go out of its way to abandon consistency. Fu Manchu kidnaps Prof. Heracles and then his doctor because he needs help to make the magic freezing crystals in quantity (crystals, by the way, which also perform the totally unrelated duty of a knockout gas), but then even though we see Heracles at the end refuse to help Fu Manchu, his refusal doesn't even slow Fu Manchu down, who initiates his freezing plan without apparent need for Heracles's assistance. We *had* seen Fu Manchu demanding a ransom earlier one (without bothering to name terms) but any idea of actually collecting on the ransom never comes up. Fortunately for the world Nayland-Smith shows up to foil his plot to freeze the ocean, although Franco can't be bothered to show us how he foils it. We see him beating up some flunkies and trying to contact London by radio, then suddenly there's a loud report and soon Fu Manchu is watching helplessly as everything blows up around him. I'm used to villain's fortresses improbably blowing up because the hero fires one well-placed shot or smashes one control panel, but THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU gives us the only case of a villain's fortress exploding merely because the hero makes a long-distance phone call.

It's not as though Franco didn't have enough screen time to fill these plot holes. It's just that he decided to fill that time with lengthy establishing shots, walking, and creeping around dark corridors and tunnels. He also directs his actors to speak as slowly as possible and pause whenever possible. They have excuses, I suppose. Fu Manchu is "inscrutable", being an offensive Oriental stereotype, and Omar Pasha is probably stoned out of his mind on opium half the time. The police chief in Istanbul simply doesn't care and spends a good deal of his screen time sulking and telling people not to bother him. And why should he bother doing his job? He's played by Jess Franco, after all.

With so little actually happening in THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU, we have to be content with watching the scenery. There are some beautiful background shots in the film, to be sure. Mostly, though, Franco traps us in Fu Manchu's lair. The quarter-hours slip by as the "action" takes us from one room or chamber to another and another, none of them very well lit, while Christopher Lee sits and looks smug, or stands up and looks smug, or even speaks while looking smug. Eventually a lot of people die and Fu Manchu disappears into the billowing fake smoke. Dry ice, Rosco fog, and blood, indeed.

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