Where East Is East Reviews
Some notes of interest in the personal lives of the cast: Chaney would sadly die just one year later, and Vélez and Taylor would become such close friends that it would be Taylor at Vélez's side the night she committed suicide 15 years later.
Also, some notes on the subject of race, always a lightning rod in watching these old films: It's disappointing that none of the principal Asian roles are played by Asians, Asian countries and cultures are muddled together, and Asian characters are shown butchering basic grammar even when they should be speaking in their native languages to one another. On the other hand, Browning doesn't play to other stereotypes, wisely doesn't attempt to make Taylor or Vélez look "more Asian" with garish make-up, knowing it would be ridiculous (see Renee Adoree in 1927's Mr. Wu, among others), and also includes three lines in correct Chinese, as opposed to putting up a hodgepodge of nonsensical characters. (And interestingly enough, he doesn't even translate those lines into English.) Not bad, especially for 1929.
A hint of horror creeps into the final act, but the crucial scene is so brief that I wonder if "lost" footage could be a factor.