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Phantom of Chinatown (1940)

Approved | | Action, Crime, Drama | 18 November 1940 (USA)
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.

Director:

Phil Rosen

Writers:

George Waggner (screenplay) (as Joseph West), Ralph Gilbert Bettison (original story) (as Ralph Bettinson) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Keye Luke ... James Lee 'Jimmy' Wong
Lotus Long ... Win Len
Grant Withers ... Capt. Street
Charles Miller Charles Miller ... Dr. John Benton (as Charles Miller)
Huntley Gordon ... Dr. Norman Wilkes
Virginia Carpenter Virginia Carpenter ... Louise Benton
John Dilson ... Charlie Frasier (as John H. Dilson)
Paul McVey ... Detective Grady
John Holland ... Mason
Richard Terry Richard Terry ... Toreno (as Dick Terry)
Robert Kellard ... Tommy Dean
Willy Castello ... Jonas (as William Castello)
Lee Tung Foo Lee Tung Foo ... Foo
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Storyline

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 <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 November 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El Fantasma de Chinatown See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Monogram Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The earliest documented telecasts of this film took place in Salt Lake City Tuesday 29 November 1949 on KSL (Channel 5), in Los Angeles Monday 19 December 1949 on KTLA (Channel 5) and in New York City Monday 27 March 1950 on WATV (Channel 13). See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
surprising relevance today
6 August 2004 | by goblinhairedguySee all my reviews

Poverty Row programmers like this may now seem incredibly hokey, but at the same time they're fascinating time capsules of American mores of those bygone (and maybe not so bygone) days. This one is routinely scripted and handled with little inspiration (though lots of pace), yet it's quite idiosyncratic for its time. Most obviously, a real Asian (Keye Luke, better known as Charlie Chan's Number One Son) is finally given the opportunity to play an Asian detective. The screenwriters certainly take advantage of the unique casting, turning a lot of the expected racially-insensitive material on end -- Luke gets in a real zinger when he brashly compares the looting of a Mongolian sarcophagus to having a Chinese adventurer dig up and purloin George Washington's corpse from its tomb. Also relevant to the 21st century is the fact that the tomb raiders are not so much seeking the legendary Eternal Flame for cultural or historic reasons, but due to the conjecture that it is produced by a hidden treasure trove of priceless oil. Quite refreshing attitudes for a 40s B-movie, with some vivid scenes of Chinatown life and interesting travelogue footage of a seemingly authentic excursion to Northern China.


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