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

Thursday, November 8, 2018


Chris Lee as Fu
THE VENGEANCE OF FU MANCHU (1967). Director: Jeremy Summers.

Fu Manchu (Christopher Fee) has not only decided to bring together all sorts of international criminals, including American gangsters, to form a group that he will lead, but has also concocted a diabolical scheme for revenge against his British nemesis, Nayland Smith (Douglas Wilmer of Unman, Wittering and Zigo) of Scotland Yard. Smith has concluded that a group to be called Interpol should be formed to unite law officers from various countries and combat the criminal scourge. But he is unaware that Fu Manchu has created a double of Smith whose actions will destroy his reputation even as Smith himself is taken captive by his enemy. Dealing with the zombie-like double are FBI agent Mark Weston (Noel Trevarthen of Escort for Hire) and Smith's long-time friend and colleague, Dr. Petrie (Howard Marion-Crawford).

Horst Frank, Christopher Lee, Lin Tang
The Vengeance of Fu Manchu is the third of five films starring Lee as the notorious Chinese doctor, but he already seems a trifle bored with the role. A bigger problem is a script that never takes advantage of the pulp horror atmosphere of Sax Rohmer's novels. While the Fu Manchu books were never out and out horror novels, they generally had very macabre elements that the film adaptations unwisely omit. Vengeance is simply a prosaic thriller, not too well put together, that could have had any antagonist. Because of the popularity of spy films we also get a Shanghai cop, Inspector Ramos (Tony Ferrer), who employs judo and karate. (Ferrer also starred in several Filipino spy movies.) Lin Tang is back as Fu's nasty daughter, and Horst Frank [Cat O' Nine Tails] plays a gangster who is sent from America as an emissary of mob interests. The script is full of implausibilities, even for this kind of thriller, such as an Asian man's face being turned into a duplicate of Nayland Smith's in 48 hours (!), and the Smith double being sentenced to death when he is clearly mentally disturbed. Followed by The Blood of Fu Manchu. The first film in this series was The Face of Fu Manchu.

Verdict: Disappointing Fu movie you might want to say "foo!" to. **. 


angelman66 said...

Too bad this one isn't better. A lot of Lee and Cushing's Hammer pictures don't live up to the hype. I am a fan of Sir Christopher forever, though!!

William said...

Yes, Lee and Cushing were excellent actors who generally classed up any production.