The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)
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as Dr. Fu Manchu
as Fah Lo See
as Sheila Barton
as Terrence Granville
as Commissioner Sir Nayland Smith
as Prof. Von Berg
as Sir Lionel Barton
as Museum Official
as Ship's Steward
as Dr. Fairgyle
Critic Reviews for The Mask of Fu Manchu
Boris Karloff portrays the evil warlord with the right mix of menace and playfulness.
This is a creaky but entertaining relic from the early sound era. Basically an adventure story...it edges into the horror category thanks to the fiendish torture devices used by the Oriental criminal mastermind - and his sadistic daughter.
An entertaining but politically incorrect hokum escapist adventure story.
...the film is filled with high camp, Karloff in droopy mustache and long, curled fingernails and Loy in slinky gown and dangly headdress.
A classic with a towering performance by Karloff as Fu Manchu. Only the movie's overt racism can be a mark against it today.
Audience Reviews for The Mask of Fu Manchu
Hokey, campy, and highly entertaining. This movie is a bit more of a thriller along the lines of Indiana Jones than it is a horror film, but there are many cool touches packed into its 68 minutes. The race is on to get to the tomb of Genghis Khan, and we first see Boris Karloff in the role of Fu Manchu with his exaggerated facial features further distorted in a convex mirror, sporting absurdly long fingernails, and drinking a bubbly, steaming concoction. Later we'll see him torturing a captive with a giant gong, and presiding over an operating room which has lizards and snakes clamoring to get out of jars, a giant python, and a tarantula he extracts poison from. The sinister operation is presided over by the inscrutable Myrna Loy with her cat-like face, calming smoking what appears to be a hookah, as well as a bunch of bare-chested African-American guys on pedestals with arms crossed. Injections are needed for one of the captives to make him Loy's "more than willing slave, until of course she tires of him" - loved that. There are also a couple of death traps that will remind you of 007 films from 30 years later, including an alligator pit, and how can you not love a laser scene from 1932? It's all truly over the top, and the sets are fantastic. Is the film racist? Well, yes, but I found it less disturbing than others from the time period. Despite the whitewashing of Hollywood - Karloff, Loy, and other Caucasians in Asian roles - I liked the strength of their characters, in direct contrast to the more common fawning, servile roles. Then again, Karloff bellows "Kill the white man, and take his women!" towards the end, in what likely directly stoked the "yellow fear" of the day. Still, I took more offense to the gap-tooth, goofy waiter ringing the dinner bell at the end, than I did to Karloff or Loy. You have to be able to forgive the filmmakers a bit, but if you can, I think you'll enjoy this one too.
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.
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?
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