Review: ‘Dr Fu Manchu’

British Legation in Peking is under assault of Boxer hordes. One of the officials, anticipating a massacre, sends his little daughter to the protection of a friendly Chinese noble, Dr Fu Manchu. In the ensuing attack by English troops, Fu's wife and son are slain. Whereupon the Oriental swears revenge on the white foreign devils.

British Legation in Peking is under assault of Boxer hordes. One of the officials, anticipating a massacre, sends his little daughter to the protection of a friendly Chinese noble, Dr Fu Manchu. In the ensuing attack by English troops, Fu’s wife and son are slain. Whereupon the Oriental swears revenge on the white foreign devils.

Years later it is made plain that the same Dr Fu is on the trail of Sir John, who commanded the English in Peking, having disposed of all the other white commanders by subtle murder. He has brought up the white girl (Jean Arthur) left in his charge and, by putting her in a trance, has her carry out his designs. It all works up to a pip of a melodramatic climax.

Punch of the picture is its speed and sustained suspense. Eerie bits in dives and dim waterfront settings are capitally managed for effect.

Picture discloses a fine cast of articulate players, notably Neil Hamilton as the young lead, Claude King as Sir John, and Warner Oland, who seems to be able to make an Oriental heavy believable.

Dr Fu Manchu

Production

Paramount. Director Rowland V. Lee; Screenplay Florence Ryerson, Lloyd Corrigan

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1929. Running time: 80 MIN.

With

Warner Oland Jean Arthur Neil Hamilton William Austin Claude King O.P. Heggie
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