Search - Shadow of Chinatown on DVD

Shadow of Chinatown
Shadow of Chinatown
Actors: Joan Barclay, Bruce Bennett, William Buchanan, George Chan, Jack Cowell
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
NR     2001     5hr 0min


Movie Details

Actors: Joan Barclay, Bruce Bennett, William Buchanan, George Chan, Jack Cowell
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Whirlwind Media
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 02/20/2001
Original Release Date: 10/10/1936
Theatrical Release Date: 10/10/1936
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 5hr 0min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

Horrible Horror Transfer to DVD
Mark Savary | Seattle, WA | 06/06/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)

"When I heard of this Bela Lugosi serial, and that it was on DVD, I
placed an order without hesitation. Well, as they say, fools jump
in...The packaging of the two-disc set is very nice, with vintage
artwork on the cover and inside on the paper chapter list insert (the
only reason for my 2-star rating here).However, this is quite
possibly one of the worst transfers I have ever had the misfortune to
be a purchaser of, and I readily warn any other unsuspecting victim to
avoid this one.The sound is garbled, warbles, and is painful to
listen to. Worse yet, Whirlwind has chosen to "mat" the
image in such a way as to cut off all four sides of the
image. Basically, it looks like they "zoomed in" on the
image, giving it a blurry and distorted appearance throughout all
fifteen chapters. Obviously transferred from an inferior video
source (in one chapter, there was a slight tracking error at the top
of the frame!), this disc is less than stellar, and not fit even for
the bargain bin at a department store.As for the serial itself, it
has the feel of a low budget effort from 1931, rather than 1936. The
editing is fairly weak, and the whole chapter-play is very
"stagey", like early talkies were in '31-'34.In one later
chapter, you can even hear the director yelling for a passing car to
"Come on! COME ON!" Victory Pictures was not exactly
Republic, which is why no one today has ever heard of them. This DVD
is partly why.The hero "Martin Andrews" is laughably
bad. His Asian houseboy is sure to draw the ire of the PC crowd, and
most of the cast is populated by non-entities.The love interest and
girl reporter Joan is actually entertaining, but several opportunities
for her to expand the character were wasted by poor
editing/directing. The evil villianess who teams up with Lugosi to
ruin Chinatown (and then... the world!), is beautiful. She plays the
villianess very well, but is overpowered by Lugosi. She also was a
victim of the poor editing/directing that are the hallmark of this
serial. Lugosi has the mad scientist/inventor thing down. His
character can also hypnotize people and bend them to his will. He can
even affect a victim through his television viewer!There are
potentially great moments; sneaky traps for the heroes, at least one
good street explosion, Lugosi's inventions, and some fair fight
scenes. The cliffhangers range from really good (a bomb designed to
drop a chandelier on the hero when he enters his own foyer), to
rediculous (the hero is knocked out and placed under a hanging glass
fishbowl so he can be killed by the "focused rays of the
sun").Billed as one of "the longest serials ever
made," with the help of this poor transfer it lives up to its
press... even if it isn't the longest, it sure FELT like the longest
when I was sitting through it.I suppose my impression of the serial
has been somewhat shaded by the slapdash transfer, but this is no
"S.O.S. Coast Guard", that's for sure.If nothing else, I
think Lugosi fans should seek an alternate source for this serial, and
avoid this DVD as if it were a mad scientist's plot to capture the
The Shadow Creeps
rhofan | Los Angeles, CA USA | 09/07/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I can't even give this 2 stars as another reviewer did. This is another slap together dvd by Whirlwind Media who are only concerned with making money. The transfer is from a 16mm print off, most likely, a Sinister Cinema VHS tape. The only reason I even bought this is because it's one of those incredibly rare serials. The sound is pretty much muddied throughout the dvd and the print itself isn't much better. I had high hopes at first as the opening title sequence, although not crisp and clean, was viewable. After that, it becomes a hit and miss affair even more than their release of The Phantom Creeps. I wish Whirlwind would put some effort into cleaning up the video and sound--it isn't that difficult to do as one can see from the efforts of the Doctor Who Restoration Team. Again, as I stated in my Phantom Creeps review, STAY AWAY FROM WHIRLWIND MEDIA!!!"
tvrepairman | USA | 12/30/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)

"The DVD is not very good quality print. Even the serial isn't that good. I got it because it was rare and had Bela Lugosi in it but I am sorry to say that it's not worth getting. Some of the actors are supposed to be of Oriental caucasion but it is obvious they were not in some cases. They could have called the serial "The Death" I am a fan of Bela lugosi but this DVD isn't worth it."