The Mask of Fu Manchu - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Mask of Fu Manchu Reviews

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Super Reviewer
November 23, 2015
If you can put aside the wild racism of the time this is an okay pre-code adventure with the male lead being sexually objectify for a change. This was during the misguided period when Myrna Loy was being cast as an Oriental baddie.
Super Reviewer
½ October 4, 2010
well i have to say this was really fun but also quite racist. karloff is having a blast here, the costumes and sets are high camp, myrna loy as an oriental princess and assorted bizarre torture devices. what else could u possibly want?
November 2, 2009
A great film with more than obvious allegorical references to the ?Yellow Peril.? Much like Charlie Chan or Mr Moto, Dr Fu Manchu is played by a White man, this time its Boris Karloff (who must have played the Chinaman role well as he later played the titular character in the Mr Wong series). The evil Chinese doctor attempts to revive Genghis Khan's spirit into his own body using a combination of Eastern magic and Western science with the stated goal of creating a pan-Asian empire and killing all the White men the world-over. The good doctor regularly uses his advanced torture chamber and his daughter is especially sadistic (in a slightly sexual manner) in her use of the devices. An Indiana Jones-type that has a number of GREAT lines and an intriguing story with high-flung adventure.
November 23, 2006
I really enjoyed this one. I wouldnt necessarily say it was one of Karloff's better role's, but the plot and sets kept the film highly interesting.
October 15, 2015
There's some dope moments early on, but it gets pretty tedious. Pretty surprisingly progressive though for the time, what with some black people whipping a white dude.
½ February 6, 2015
The film, inspired by the book The Insidious Fu Manchu, has a much lower concentration of offensive language than the book does. But what it lacks in language and description it can make up with visual imagery. The scene when the audience finally gets to meet Dr. Fu Manchu they are met with a crazed and creepy smile, the stereotypical mustache and long nails, not the mentions the sound gongs ringing in the background in way that was probably meant to be ominous. Those who read the book might find it easy to dismiss the words that were thrown about to describe the Doctor, but words have a different influence than images do. The movie converts the book's descriptions of Dr. Fu Manchu into something that seems ridiculous now, but was probably quite scary when it was released.

From a purely plot-centric standpoint, the reliance on Dr. Fu Manchu's "Eastern-ness" to make him a convincing villain is unimpressive. Others might argue that it was the Doctor's cunning or intention to take over the world that made him a great villain, but that argument fails once you put the movie in the historical context that it's defender love to put it in. At this time the British had a very extensive empire. They had, for all intents and purposes, taken over the world themselves. The movie is not as clear as the book in making the audience aware of a British empire, but that makes it no less of a reality. The British were scared of someone else, someone who did not look like them, having control over what they had. The film seeks to justify that fear as much as it plans to entertain, although it certainly did one better than the other.
½ December 3, 2012
Despite inborn racism regarding the portrayal of a highly "Americanized" 1930's Orient, Fu Manchu is wonderfully executed in its artistic morbidity; costumes, Karloff's shady nuances, and surreal stage sets, push this flick from mere Adventure talkie to horror.
March 16, 2011
ludicrous, fun adventure.
February 12, 2010
So I have a list that I am going off of and this was on there as a Horror Movie. Its not really scary, but Boris Karloff turns in a pretty chilling performance as the evil and sadistic Dr. Fu Manchu. The movie is known for the torture scenes in which Fu Manchu puts his victims through, the bell one in this is one of my favorites. I really enjoyed this and thought that it would be a pretty decent thriller.

Boris Karloff is one of the greats, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, and Lon Chaney Jr. are all some of the greatest early film actors of all time. What we have here is a group of scientists searching out the mask and sword of Genghis Khan. Dr. Fu Manchu wants to get his hands on the items so that he can summon Genghis Khan to come and destroy the Western World. More importantly kill all of the white men.

There are some amazing electricity effects that Boris Karloff does himself with, what looks like, a Tesla Coil. The effects are enough for you to really sit through it. On the scary scale though this has to rake in a easy 6 of 10. Though it is not scary what-so-ever.

Kill the white man - Dr. Fu Manchu

December 12, 2009
It is not wise to insult your host

Dr. Fu Manchu is a believer in the ancient arts of witchcraft and magic. He believes that he can obtain the sword and mask of Ghengis Khan and bring him back to life to rule the world. He is not the only one after the ancient relics. The English, amongst others, will battle the doctor to the death to prevent the return of Ghengis Khan.

?You think Fu Manchu doesn?t know that we have a beautiful white girl here??

Charles Brabin, director of Ben-hur, Rasputin and the Empress, The Broadway Peacock, The Raven (1915), and Vanity Fair, delivers Mask of Fu Manchu. The storyline for this picture was interesting and well delivered. The characters were well portrayed but only Manchu was well developed. The performance was magnificent by the infamous Boriss Karloff.

?We have to beat him.?

My wife and I are huge Karloff fans and catch as many of his films during the Halloween season as possible. This was an interesting film and reminded me of Marlon Brando?s The Teahouse on the August Moon in which Brando portrayed a Vietnamese man. In both films, the performance by the lead character was an A+ but the film was a C. The performance by the lead characters make these films worth watching but the film is not great overall.

?He?s insane with power.?

Grade: C+
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