"Mr. Wong Detective ... Boris Karloff & Keye Luke ... VCI En
J. Lovins | Missouri-USA | 02/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"VCI Entertainment presents "MR. WONG, DETECTIVE: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION" (1938-1940) (403 mins) (In Glorious Black & White/Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) --- Boris Karloff (born William Henry Pratt) was an English actor who emigrated to Canada in the 1910s --- He is best known for his roles in horror films and his portrayal of Frankenstein's monster in the 1931 film Frankenstein --- His popularity following Frankenstein in the early 1930s was such that for a brief time he was billed simply as "Karloff" --- In contrast to the characters he played on screen, Karloff was known in real life as a very kind gentleman who gave generously, especially to children's charities --- Karloff was also a charter member of the Screen Actors Guild, and was especially outspoken regarding working conditions on sets (some extremely hazardous) that actors were expected to deal with in the mid-1930s.
In the next few paragraphs are reviews of Mr. Wong, the detective played to the hilt by Boris Karloff --- 1938-1940 Monogram series with suspenseful whodunit --- ask the question as the "how" in each of his cases to be solved --- Although made up to look vaguely Asian, Karloff eschews the stereotypical cadences and one liner sayings of those rival Asian sleuths Mr. Moto and Charlie Chan and is more believable than both detectives --- Karloff as Mr. Wong is still up there with the best of them for mysteries and suspense in the film annuals.
BIOS: 1. Boris Karloff (aka: William Henry Pratt) Date of Birth: 23 November 1887 - Camberwell, London, England, UK Date of Death: 2 February 1969 - Midhurst, Sussex, England, UK
"MR. WONG DETECTIVE" (5 October 1938) (69 mins/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) --- Story line and plot, Monogram Pictures at its best --- As Mr. Wong discovers, the answer is to be found in the origin and purpose of the mysterious pieces of glass found near each victim --- When a chemical manufacturer is killed after asking detective James Wong to help him --- Wong investigates this and two subsequent murders --- He uncovers a international spy ring hoping to steal the formula for a poison gas being developed by the first victim's company --- Grant Withers, who appeared in five of the six films as the ubiquitous dumb police detective --- The climactic sequence is one of the better ones that you'll see in this kind of B-movie --- but with a solid story and Karloff in the lead, it's definitely worth seeing.
the cast includes: Boris Karloff ... Mr. James Lee Wong Grant Withers ... Captain Sam Street Maxine Jennings ... Myra Ross, Dayton's Secretary Evelyn Brent ... Olga Petroff / Countess Dubois / Sophie Dome
"THE MYSTERY OF MR. WONG" (8 March 1939) (68 mins/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) --- Story line and plot, Is a classic mystery as The Eye of the Daughter of the Moon, a golfball sized sapphire has been stolen in China and smuggled into the United States --- And Richards, a rich man who knows a curse was placed on the Eye by the Emperor Hong Chong Tu as he buried it in his dead unfaithful wife's heart, expects to be murdered for receiving it --- Richards shows Mr Wong the Eye and a death threat note --- Watch and take note that at a party, during a game of "Indications", Richards is shot, seemingly by his secretary, Peter Harrison --- Many suspects emerge, a peeking Chinese butler and maid, a budding singer, another criminologist, Richards' lawyer and an unsigned changed will. Mr Wong helps Street sort out the details to uncover all the secrets and the murderer.
the cast includes: Boris Karloff ... James Lee Wong Grant Withers ... Police Captain Sam Street Dorothy Tree ... Valerie Edwards Craig Reynolds ... Peter Harrison
MR. WONG IN CHINATOWN" (1 August 1939) (71 mins/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) --- Story line and plot, Watch this unfold as pretty Chinese woman, seeking help from San Francisco detective James Lee Wong, is killed by a poisoned dart in his front hall, having time only to scrawl "Captain J" on a sheet of paper, what does this mean --- She proves to be Princess Lin Hwa, on a secret military mission for Chinese forces fighting the Japanese invasion --- Can any clue help our master detective as Mr. Wong finds two captains with the initial J in the case, neither being quite what he seems; there's fog on the waterfront and someone still has that poison dart gun --- Karloff held this picture together and has made this film a true Mr. Wong series classic for all Karloff fans.
the cast includes: Boris Karloff ... Mr. James Lee Wong Marjorie Reynolds ... Roberta 'Bobbie' Logan (reporter) Grant Withers ... Police Capt. Bill Street Huntley Gordon ... Mr. Davidson (bank president)
"THE FATAL HOUR" (15 January 1940) (68 mins/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) --- Story line and plot, Oriental detective Mr. Wong has successfully solved quite a lot of difficult cases, with his splendid observation talents and marvelous deduction skills --- unequaled master actor Boris Karloff in the role James Lee Wong. Police --- When Captain Street's best friend Dan O'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 --- where all the smuggling import and export takes place - is the obvious suspect, but there are a lot more people involved --- I liked the realistic aspect that Wong isn't a super hero who prevents further murders from happening and thus has to face several more dead bodies during his investigation --- Karloff is terrific and he receives good feedback from the supportive cast. Particularly Marjorie Reynolds is likable as the obtrusive yet helpful gossip reporter Bobby Logan
the cast includes: Boris Karloff ... James Lee Wong Grant Withers ... Capt. Bill Street Marjorie Reynolds ... Roberta 'Bobbie' Logan Charles Trowbridge ... John T. Forbes
"DOOMED TO DIE" (12 August 1940) (68 mins/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) --- Story line and plot, Karloff returns once again as the famous Chinese detective James Lee Wong to solve the murder of a shipping tycoon --- As usual what seems like an open and shut case to Capt. Street (Grant Withers) quickly becomes a web of deceit, lies and murder! --- Karloff is, of course, great as Wong. I loved his entrances from the most unlikely places, such as windows or fire escapes --- Thus far, Shipping magnate Cyrus Wentworth, downcast over a disaster to his ocean liner 'Wentworth Castle' (carrying, oddly enough, an illicit shipment of Chinese bonds) is shot in his office --- What has at the very moment of kicking out his daughter's fiance Dick Fleming to do with this case --- Of course, Captain Street arrests Dick, but reporter Bobbie Logan, the attractive thorn in Street's side, is so convinced he's wrong that she enlists the help of detective James Lee Wong to find the real killer --- What unfolds later in the film is quite a mystery in itself.
the cast includes: Boris Karloff ... James Lee Wong Marjorie Reynolds ... Roberta 'Bobbie' Logan Grant Withers ... Capt. William 'Bill' Street (Homicide Squad) William Stelling ... Dick Fleming Catherine Craig ... Cynthia Wentworth Guy Usher ... Paul Fleming (Dick's father) Henry Brandon ... Victor 'Vic' Martin (attorney)
"PHANTOM OF CHINATOWN" (18 November 1940) (62 mins/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) --- Story line and plot, Detective James Lee Wong (Keye Luke) is on the scene as archeologist 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 --- Key Luke is handsome, charming, dashing, brave and clever as James Lee Wong, and he meets his perfect match in Lotus Long, the mysterious Chinese secretary of a famous Anglo-American archaeologist.--- Luke shows his feelings for Long with his eyes and smile. Lee Tung Foo also deserves mention in a fun turn as Wong's servant.
the cast includes: Keye Luke ... James Lee 'Jimmy' Wong Grant Withers ... Police Captain Street Lotus Long ... Win Lee, Benton's Secretary Lee Tung Foo ... Foo, Jimmy's Cook Charles F. Miller ... Dr. John Benton / Cyrus Benton in Newspaper (as Charles Miller) Huntley Gordon ... Dr. Norman Wilkes
BIOS: 2. Keye Luke Date of Birth: 18 June 1904 - Guangzhou, China Date of Death: 12 January 1991 - Whittier, California
SPECIAL FEATURES BONUS: 1. Scene Selection 2. Photo Gallery 3. Bonus Serial Chapter: Red Barry (1938) - Chapter 1 4. Classic Boris Karloff Movie Trailers 5. Classic Cartoons of the Era
Hats off and thanks to Robert Blair and his staff at VCI Entertainment --- VCI was named in Variety and Hollywood Reporter as the first company to produce and release motion pictures directly to the home marketplace --- order your copy now from Amazon or VCI Entertainment where there are plenty of copies available on DVD, stay tuned once again for top notch releases --- VCI are experts in releasing long forgotten films and treasures to the collector -- looking forward to more Nostalgic Collections.
Total Time: 403 min on VHS/DVD ~ VCI Entertaiment ~ (3/25/2008)"
A Fine Underrated Mystery
John R. Bolton | 05/13/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"When a shipping magnate is found murdered in a locked room, the famous Chinese detective James Lee Wong goes to work find the killer and the seemingly impossible method of murder. Monogram Studios was obviously capitolizing on the success of 20th Century Fox's Charlie Chan and Mr. Moto films when they decided to make this film, but had the good sense to hire Boris Karloff, who brought his usual polish and charm to the role of Mr. Wong. Monogram, one the so-called "poverty row" studios, thought enough of Karloff (and the film) to give him a strong supporting cast and an intriguing mystery story to work with. The result is no classic, but still a very entertaining film that proved Karloff was much more than just a "boogeyman."By the way, the plot was good enough that, several years later, Monogram reused it for one of THEIR Charlie Chan films!"
John R. Bolton | on the move | 04/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I don't remember seeing this when I was young. I am 61 and don't know how I miss Mr. Wong, but it was great to see this for the first time. It had some good "who done it" and kept you to the end. It is not perfect, but I really enjoyed it. Worth the buy
John Ga, Usa"
Jackson | BOSTON | 04/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"ITS HARD TO CONCEIVE BORIS KARLOFF AS AN ASIAN, WITH HIS SPEECH AND HEIGHT. BUT HE PULLS IT OFF WITH SOME GOOD MOVIES. SOME OF THE SCRIPTS WERE USED IN OTHER MOVIES OF THE ERA, BUT ITS STILL GOOD VIEWING."
Mr Wong with Boris Karloff
Scarlett Blakeney | CA | 01/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD contains all six films. I like the Mr Wong films. They were made between Boris Karloff's Frankenstein Films. The films are for the most part of good quality. The only problem with the DVD is that you have to watch all films at one time. You cannot select individual films."