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Shadows of the Orient (1935)

Passed | | Action, Crime, Drama | 6 July 1935 (USA)
A classic "B" featurette about "smugglin' in Chinamen for $300 a load"


Burt P. Lynwood (as Burt Lynwood)


Louis E. Heifetz (story) (as L.E. Heifetz), Charles F. Royal (adaptation) (as Charles Francis Royal)




Cast overview:
Esther Ralston ... Viola Avery
Regis Toomey ... Inspector Bob Baxter
J. Farrell MacDonald ... Inspector Sullivan
Oscar Apfel ... Judge Avery
Sidney Blackmer ... King Moss
Eddie Fetherston Eddie Fetherston ... James 'Flash' Dawson
Kit Guard ... Spud Nolan
James B. Leong James B. Leong ... Ching Chu


"Shadows of the Orient" was originally (and still is) a Larry Darmour production made under the Empire Films banner in 1935 and released in August of 1935, although Motion Picture Herald did not review it until February of 1936. Following the reorganization of Monogram, after W. Ray Johnston, Scott R. Dunlap, Trem Carr and Paul Malvern broke away from their short stay at Republic Pictures, Monogram was in need of product to fill their exhibitor committments and picked up the film from whatever state-rights limbo it was in, and sent it back out on August 13, 1937 under a Monogram Pictures logo with nothing to indicate it was a re-issue of a two year-old film. Its first New York showing was at the Central Theatre on October 11, 1937, 27 months after initial release through the Empire exchanges, and it had lost three minutes from its original 68 minutes. The Foreword tells it all: "Since the passing of the Oriental Exclusion Act the smuggling of aliens has been constant. Although the ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


FRISCO RIPPED WIDE OPEN...BY THRILL-MAD SOCIETY BEAUTY! (original poster-all caps) See more »


Action | Crime | Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This film was first telecast Friday 2 January 1942 on New York City's pioneer commercial television station WNBT (Channel 1). In Detroit it first aired Monday 1 November 1948 on freshly launched WJBK (Channel 2). See more »


[last lines]
[Bob snaps the handcuffs his wrist to Viola's]
Inspector Sullivan: Hey! What am I going to tell Graves about this?
Inspector Bob Baxter: Tell him I eloped with the secret agent that helped me crack this case.
Viola Avery: Whoopee!
Inspector Bob Baxter: And don't forget to turn in your resignation!
See more »

User Reviews

Pretty bad...and a sad look at one of the sadder periods in history.
13 January 2014 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Like most videos of older films from Alpha Video, this one is in very rough shape. It's obvious the print has seen much, much better days!

"Shadows of the Orient" is set in the era just after the Johnson-Reed Act (also called 'Immigration Act of 1924' or 'The Oriental Exclusion Act'). This US law created quotas for immigrants that severely limited the number of folks from certain parts of the world--such as Eastern Europe and Asia. However, folks from 'desirable' nations (such as Northern Europe) were given preferential treatment.

Regis Toomey and J. Farrell MacDonald play inspectors working to capture illegal aliens and those profiting from smuggling these folks into the US. Inspector Sullivan (MacDonald), an old an experienced man, is having trouble getting to the bottom of a gang smuggling in Chinese folks. So, Inspector Baxter (Toomey) is brought in--and Sullivan naturally resents it. However, through the course of the film, Baxter proves his worth and, along with his lady friend, is able to put an end to this gang.

While I was uncomfortable with the somewhat xenophobic subject matter, you DO want to see the gang stopped as they are amazingly evil. When they are about to be caught in their airplane, they jettison their cargo--dropping these poor Chinese folks thousands of feet to their deaths!! Nice, huh?! Unfortunately, the film itself just wasn't very good. While Toomey and the rest tried their best, the material was a bit limp and the action scenes pretty bad. For instance, when one plane was shot down, you can see it's from another film as their is a German insignia on the plane that actually crashes! Cheap and silly overall.

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Release Date:

6 July 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Orientens Skygger See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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