35 user 16 critic

The Fatal Hour (1940)

Approved | | Crime, Mystery, Thriller | 15 January 1940 (USA)
When Captain Street's best friend Dan Grady is murdered, Street enlists the help of Chinese detective James Lee Wong. Mr. Wong uncovers a smuggling ring on the waterfront of San Francisco ... See full summary »


William Nigh


Scott Darling (screenplay), George Waggner (adaptation) (as Joseph West) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Boris Karloff ... James Lee Wong
Marjorie Reynolds ... Roberta 'Bobbie' Logan
Grant Withers ... Capt. Bill Street
Charles Trowbridge ... John T. Forbes
Frank Puglia ... Harry 'Hardway' Lockett
Craig Reynolds ... Frank Belden, Jr.
Lita Chevret ... Tanya Serova
Harry Strang ... Det. Ballard
Hooper Atchley ... Frank Belden Sr.
Jason Robards Sr. ... Griswold (as Jason Robards)
Richard Loo ... Jeweler
Jack Kennedy Jack Kennedy ... Mike, Police Sergeant


When Captain Street's best friend Dan Grady is murdered, Street enlists the help of Chinese detective James Lee Wong. Mr. Wong uncovers a smuggling ring on the waterfront of San Francisco and unmasks the killer, though not until several more murders occur. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This film can be found on many multi-film horror collections on DVD because of its star, Boris Karloff. See more »


When Street and Logan are arguing about her story in the paper, the sergeant calls into Street's office saying "There is a gentleman here to see about Grady."

Street sends Bobby out to 'interview' him. When she goes out into the anteroom, she asks the 'gentleman' "Are you Mr Lyons?"

The man's name was never mentioned. See more »


Capt. Bill Street: I'll see you later.
Roberta 'Bobbie' Logan: Not me, flatfoot. Get one of the nurses out of the receiving hospital. They don't mind a pain in the neck.
See more »


Follows The Mystery of Mr. Wong (1939) See more »

User Reviews

Not bad at all, better than the rating suggests
5 January 2014 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Neither of the six films in the Mr Wong series are great but they are entertaining enough. The Fatal Hour does drag a fair bit, the photography could have done with a little more finesse and while he is much better than he is in Mr Wong in Chinatown Grant Withers overacts, shouting his lines too much. I didn't find it a bad film at all and found it an improvement over Mr Wong in Chinatown. The sets and lighting are effective enough, the music is jaunty and eerie and the dialogue has good doses of humour and thoughtfulness. The story is not as predictable as it sounds, the murders are not particularly creative but the plotting is diverting, fills the short running time very well and the twists and red herrings add to the intrigue and fun(personally I didn't find it that convoluted) though would have been more effective with a brisker pace. The Fatal Hours also is one of the better acted films in the series. Boris Karloff regardless of reservations of authenticity is very magnetic and gives a dignified and thoughtful performance. Marjorie Reynolds is very sassy with the humour coming naturally to her, she and Withers do have some good chemistry. The supporting cast is one of the stronger and more consistent ones of the series, Robert Puglia is the standout as the film's most interesting character and Craig Reynolds also injects life and humour to things. In conclusion, not great but better than expected. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

15 January 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La hora fatídica See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Monogram Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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