Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


A well-composed cast shot from "Mr. Wong"
THE MYSTERY OF MR. WONG (1939). Director: William Nigh.

"I confess I'm completely at a loss."

James Lee Wong (Boris Karloff) is invited to the home of Brendan Edwards (Morgan Wallace), who shows him the fabulous and cursed sapphire known as the Eye of the Daughter of the Moon. Not much later, Edwards participates in a parlor sketch [during a Charades-like game called "Indications"] in which he gets shot by a jealous husband, but in a plot twist used in other films, Edwards is really killed. At first there seem to be real bullets in the gun, but this is just the first of a number of interesting twists in the movie. Suspects include his wife, Valerie (Dorothy Tree of City in Darkness); his secretary Harrison (Craig Reynolds of Romance on the Run); the musician Strogonoff (Ivan Lebedeff); and the maid, Drina (Lotus Long); among others. Wong is assisted by his old associate Professor Janney (Holmes Herbert of Daughter of the Dragon) as well as Captain Street (Grant Withers). Karloff is excellent, as usual, there's a good wind-up, and the picture is quite entertaining.

Verdict: Snappy Mr. Wong mystery. ***.

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