Classic Mystery Collection: 6 Features [DVD]
- SKU: 30990324
- Release Date: 06/07/2016
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To the world at large, Mr. Wong (Bela Lugosi) is a harmless shopkeeper in the Chinatown district (where no one seems unduly put off by his Hungarian accent) In truth, however, Wong is an eeeeevil Mandarin who'll stop at nothing to get his hands on the Twelve Coins of Confucious, which according to legend will allow him to rule over the Chinese province of Keelat. In his efforts to obtain these coins, Wong leaves a trail of corpses behind, eventually arousing the suspicions of wisecracking reporter Jason Barton (Wallace Ford). Narrowly escaping assassination in a Chinese restaurant, Barton and his sweetheart Peg (Arline Judge) take refuge in Wong's humble shop, where they stumble into a gathering of the villain's henchmen. Will our hero and heroine escape in time to thwart the sinister, seemingly all-powerful Mr. Wong? Boasting a full-blooded performance by Bela Lugosi and campy dialogue to spare (much of it astonishingly racist!), Mysterious Mr. Wong is a bad-movie buff's delight. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
The Black Book
Also known as Reign of Terror, The Black Book is a bold effort by director Anthony Mann to film a French Revolution epic on a "B" detective picture budget. Robert Cummings stars as Charles D'Aubigny, who has been engaged by a group of political moderates to retrieve a little black book from Revolutionary leader Robespierre (Richard Basehart). The book allegedly contains evidence that Robespierre has been acting in his own interest rather than on behalf of the new government. D'Aubigny is compelled to deal with the tangible threat of Robespierre's chief henchman (Charles McGraw) as well as his uncertainty concerning the loyalties of those working with him. The Black Book is retrieved, but not before Robespierre has self-destructed on his own. The cheapness of The Black Book works in its favor, especially its overuse of shadows; while this photographic device was intended to disguise the seediness of the sets, it accurately conveys a "dark" period in French history that here is literally as well as figuratively dark. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Mr. Wong in Chinatown
A mysterious visitor is found murdered in Mr. Wong's study in this, the third of Monogram's low-budget thrillers, featuring Hugh Wiley's Chinese detective. A startled Wong (Boris Karloff) learns from enterprising girl reporter Bobby Logan (Marjorie Reynolds) that the murder victim is Princess Lin Hwa (Lotus Long), in San Francisco to buy airplanes for her brother's army. Both the princess' traveling companion (Bessie Loo) and a mysterious dwarf (Angelo Rossitto) become victims of a mystery killer, who uses an ancient Chinese dart as his weapon of choice. The trail leads to a steamer in the San Francisco harbor, whose captain, Jalme (William Royle), is highly suspicious. Also among the would-be murderers are a phony airplane manufacturer (Peter George Lynn) and a local banker (Huntly Gordon). Although kidnapped by Jalme, Mr. Wong manages to unmask the real culprit. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi
Phantom of Chinatown
In the last of Monogram's "Mr. Wong" whodunits, Keye Luke takes over from Boris Karloff as the Chinese detective Jimmy Lee Wong, more of an amateur sleuth, really, than his eminent predecessor. The subject for Wong's examination is the poisoning of Dr. Benton (Charles F. Miller), the leader of an expedition to Mongolia and the possessor of a mysterious and seemingly deadly scroll. With Captain Street (Grant Withers) and the dead man's Chinese secretary (Lotus Long alternately aiding and obstructing the investigation, Wong gets to the bottom of things within the expected 68 minutes or so by using himself as a decoy. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi
Nancy Drew, Reporter
The second entry in Warner Bros.' popular detective series, Nancy Drew, Reporter presented young sleuth Bonita Granville at her busybody best. This time, the irrepressible Miss Drew has entered a junior newspaper-reporter contest and, determined to win, insinuates herself into the ongoing investigation of the Lambert murder. Despite overwhelming evidence, Nancy refuses to believe that the murder victim's young ward (Betty Amann) is the culprit and instead shadows a mysterious man (Jack Perry) sporting a cauliflower ear. The brutish stranger and his floozy of a girlfriend (Sheila Bromley) lead Nancy and her faithful sidekick, Ted Nickerson (Frankie Thomas Jr.), on a merry chase that, naturally, ends with the apprehension of the real murderer. Trapped in the Bledenburg Hotel along the way, Nancy and Ted ingeniously call attention to their plight by changing the hostelry's neon sign to "Bedbug Hotel." Juvenile stars Granville and Thomas are this time aided by teenage singer Mary Lee, of Gene Autry Western fame, and child actor Dickie Jones, the latter insisting on imitating Donald Duck. A highlight of the film has the four youngsters performing swing versions of nursery rhymes in order to pay for their Chinese dinner. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi
The Mystery of Mr. Wong
The second film in the mystery series about a Chinese sleuth, this one concerns the theft of the "Eye of the Daughter of the Moon," the largest star sapphire in the world, which is stolen from China and turns up in the possession of an unscrupulous gem collector, who receives a death threat containing clues to the potential murderer's identity and calls in Mr. Wong. During a game of charades, the lights mysteriously go out and the collector is shot, and the chase is on. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi