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The Mystery of Mr. Wong

Released Mar 8, 1939 1h 8m Crime Drama List
Reviews 41% Audience Score Fewer than 50 Ratings
Art collector Brandon Edwards (Morgan Wallace) is murdered shortly after smuggling a precious jewel out of China, despite a warning that whoever takes it will die. At the party where he's shot, Edwards manages to tell visiting detective Wong (Boris Karloff) the location of a note he wrote earlier, naming a suspect should he be harmed. Initially suspected is Edwards' secretary, Peter (Craig Reynolds), who Wong discovers is in love with Edwards' equally suspicious wife, Valerie (Dorothy Tree). Read More Read Less

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Audience Reviews

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Audience Member These are actually well written films, but made nearly unwatchable by modern audiences because of its jarring use of Yellowface - Boris Carloff as the titular British/Chinese detective from Hong Kong. Don't think that Yellowface is a thing of the past. In the 21st century, Grindhouse, Balls of Fury, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Crank: High Voltage, and Cloud Atlas all featured yellowface and non-Asian actors as Asian caricatures. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 02/13/23 Full Review Audience Member Not related to the similarly titled Mysterious Mr Wong, this is the first in a series of "Mr Wong" films. A huge famous sapphire is smuggled out of China into America. As its possessor attempts to return to its rightful place, others around him are being murdered, Mr Wong investigates. I'd rather see charlie Chan investigating. A ho-hum mystery from this era. Though it is funny seeing Boris Karloff as an Asian, this is far from his first; his best was as one in the great Mask of Fu Manchu. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/02/23 Full Review Audience Member Not even one of my all time favorite actors could save this dud. I'm sorry to say this movie is just bad. Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 01/13/23 Full Review Audience Member It's no mystery how bad this is, stereotyping Chinese people. Karloff should have stuck to being a vampire. Rated 0.5 out of 5 stars 01/31/23 Full Review Audience Member The Mystery of Mr. Wong Starring: Boris Karloff, Grant Withers, Holmes Herbert, Dorothy Tree, and Lotus Long Director: William Nigh When a wealthy collector of Chinese antiques, with a list of enemies as long as a phone directory, is accidentially shot during a game of charades, brilliant Chinese detective James Lee Wong (Karloff) immeidately suspects foul play. His suspicions are confirmed when it is discovered that a valuable gem has been stolen from the collector;s safe, and Captain Street of Homicide (Withers) shows up mere moments after the shooting, explaining that he was called about the murder 20 minutes before it happened. Wong, Street, and their old friend Professor Janney (Herbert) combine wits and resources to solve this most perplexing case. The second James Wong film is not as good as the one that launched the series, but it's a solid entry that features a decent enough mystery, and a couple of clever murders (even if one is a bit of a plot cheat). The Wong series is a nice change of pace in many ways. First, its Oxford educated lead character actually speaks perfect English... something very few of his fellow Oriental sleuths are able to do. Wong's friendly relationship and the mutual respect that exists between him and Capt. Street is also a nice change from the norm of so many films featuring private detectives. Another nice change is that Street isn't a complete idiot--he's a competent cop who knows his job. He's just not as brilliant James Lee Wong. Karloff's performance is fine as always. Withers seems a bit more comfortable as Street--actually all the players are closer to Karloff's level than what we saw in "Mr. Wong, Detective"--and the make-up that turns him Asian is again pretty decent. (Unlike the horrible stuff in "T[URL=http://www.rottentomatoes.com/vine/journal_view.php?journalid=245672&entryid=380000&view=public]The Mask of Fu Manchu[/URL]".) -- While watching "The Myster of Mr. Wong", I noticed several similarities between it and "Murder at Midnight". So, I looked both films up at [URL=http://www.imdb.com]Internet Movie Database[/URL]. They have the "Mystery" flagged as a remake of "Midnight"! I guess the recycling of scripts has been going on in Hollywood for as long as there have been movie studios. (We are just far more sensitive to it now than back then, I suspect, because movies stay avaiable via TV, VHS tapes, and DVDs.) Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/18/23 Full Review Read all reviews
The Mystery of Mr. Wong

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Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis Art collector Brandon Edwards (Morgan Wallace) is murdered shortly after smuggling a precious jewel out of China, despite a warning that whoever takes it will die. At the party where he's shot, Edwards manages to tell visiting detective Wong (Boris Karloff) the location of a note he wrote earlier, naming a suspect should he be harmed. Initially suspected is Edwards' secretary, Peter (Craig Reynolds), who Wong discovers is in love with Edwards' equally suspicious wife, Valerie (Dorothy Tree).
Director
William Nigh
Producer
Scott R. Dunlap
Screenwriter
W. Scott Darling
Distributor
Monogram Pictures Corporation
Production Co
Monogram Pictures
Genre
Crime, Drama
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Mar 8, 1939, Original
Release Date (Streaming)
Jul 29, 2016
Runtime
1h 8m
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