Doomed to Die (1940)
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as James Lee Wong
as Capt. William Street
as Roberta 'Bobbie' Log...
as Cyrus B. Wentworth
as Paul Fleming
as Cynthia Wentworth
as Dick Fleming
as Victor Martin
as Tong Leader
as Det. Blake
as Det. Mike
as Police Sgt. Casey
as Miss Reed
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Detective James Lee Wong (Boris Karloff, starring for the last time as Monogram's answer to Charlie Chan) investigates the death of a shipping magnate. If you can get past Karloff's cringe-inducing "Chinese" makeup and the questionable plot device of an "infrared camera" that's able to read messages after a note has been burnt to ash, this is a fairly intricate and involving mystery.
Calling all cars... Calling all cars... A murderer is on the loose! There is no reason for this movie to be in the 50 Horror Classics box set. Karloff plays detective Mr. Wong, who is brought in to assist in solving the mystery of who killed a shipping tycoon. The alternative title about Wentworth Castle refers to a boat destroyed in a fire, not a building. This was the fifth and last time Karloff played James Lee Wong as directed by William Nigh, but the first one I've seen. Withers co-starred as the slightly dim-witted police Captain Street in all six Mr. Wong mysteries. And this was the third time Marjorie Reynolds co-starred as cub reporter, "Bobbie" Logan. She is the one who enlists Mr. Wong's help. Mr. Wong goes about piecing together the clues, while the family and suspects act melodramatically and Bobbie and the Captain flirt by bickering. Though nothing comes of the romance, it is a fairly typical whodunit mixed with romcom.
A mildly interesting mystery and a relatively subtle (and easy on the racial insensitivity) performance by Boris Karloff almost manage to offset the short duration, herky jerky editing and underwritten screenplay.
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