Shadow of Chinatown, Vol. 1 and 2 [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Shadow of Chinatown: Chapter 13 - The Brink of Disaster
A wilted flower in Joan Whiting's (Joan Barclay) lapel reveals the presence of the invisible gas and Martin Andrews (Herman Brix) and his friends are able to get out of the laboratory in time. Following an old Chinese proverb, Andrews deduces that Victor Poten (Bela Lugosi) is holed up in Sonya Rokoff's (Luana Walters) apartment. But Poten and henchman Healy (William Buchanan) manage to escape over the rooftops, however, and Martin faces a furious but still zombified Grogan (Charles King). As chapter 13 concludes two bodies are seen hurtling from the roof. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Shadow of Chinatown: Chapter 04 - Death on the Wire
Although briefly knocked off his feet, Martin Andrews (Herman Brix) survives the exploding manhole cover no worse for wear. Joan Whiting (Joan Barclay), meanwhile, saves Dr. Wu (Henry T. Tung) from yet another of Victor Poten's (Bela Lugosi) fiendish devices, a telephone receiver equipped with a poisoned dart. But Joan, unfortunately, seems to have forgotten this when, abducted once again by Poten, she dials Andrews for help and receives only screams and a death rattle in return. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Shadow of Chinatown: Chapter 06 - The Sword Thrower
In chapter six of Shadow of Chinatown, a mysterious Chinese smartly removes the deadly goldfish bowl suspended over the head of Martin Andrews (Herman Brix). The enigmatic gentleman proves to be a detective, Wong (James B. Leong). By now, Martin seems surrounded by detectives, including Police Captain Walters (Forrest Taylor), who nastily accuses him of being the mastermind behind the Chinatown crimes, all reenactments of incidents in Martin's latest novel. Chapter six, which details the attack of a sword thrower, becomes tragic reality when Martin is confronted by exactly such a person while attempting to free Joan Whiting (Joan Barclay) from her imprisonment in Victor Poten's (Bela Lugosi) attic. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Shadow of Chinatown: Chapter 11 - Thundering Doom
In the opening of chapter 11 of Shadow of Chinatown, Martin Andrews (Herman Brix) catches Grogan's (Charles King) hand grenade and smartly tosses it out the open window, once again defying certain death. After learning that Andrews is bringing the catatonic Sonya Rokoff (Luana Walters) back to San Francisco to see a psychiatrist, Victor Poten (Bela Lugosi springs Grogan from an insane asylum and follows Martin's vehicle. Heading north on the inland route, Martin and Joan Whiting (Joan Barclay) suffer a blowout and Poten manages to catch up. As the chapter reaches its conclusion, Poten's automobile forces Andrews' vehicle over a steep cliff and into a ravine. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Shadow of Chinatown: Chapter 08 - Midnight
Despite lurking outside Victor Poten's stateroom, filled, as a title card puts it, "with malignant hatred," Grogan's attempt to kill Martin Andrews (Herman Brix) fails completely when a bullet fired by the ubiquitous Wong (James B. Leon) severs his homemade noose. A vengeful Victor Poten (Bela Lugosi), meanwhile, threatens to kill Grogan (Charles King) by midnight and the petrified henchman convinces the ship's captain (John Elliott) to change stateroom with him. The zero hour arrives and, still alive, a grateful Grogan is about to rat on Poten when felled by a poisoned dart. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Shadow of Chinatown: Chapter 14 - The Fatal Trap
Martin Andrews (Herman Brix) manages to grab hold of the fire escape and only Grogan (Charles King) is killed from falling off the rooftop to Sonya Rokoff's apartment. On the run, Victor Poten (Bela Lugosi decides that Andrews' home will be the least likely hiding place and after tying up Willy Fu (Maurice Liu) and Joan Whiting (Joan Barclay), the madman and his henchman Healy (William Buchanan) turn a chandelier into a deadly weapon awaiting Martin's arrival. As Sonya (Luana Walters) screams in terror, Andrews enters and the chandelier explodes. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Shadow of Chinatown: Chapter 15 - The Avenging Powers
Martin Andrews (Herman Brix) manages to grab hold of the fire escape and only Grogan (Charles King) is killed from falling off the rooftop to Sonya Rokoff's apartment. On the run, Victor Poten (Bela Lugosi decides that Andrews' home will be the least likely hiding place and after tying up Willy Fu (Maurice Liu) and Joan Whiting (Joan Barclay), the madman and his henchman Healy (William Buchanan) turn a chandelier into a deadly weapon awaiting Martin's arrival. As Sonya (Luana Walters) screams in terror, Andrews enters and the chandelier explodes. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Shadow of Chinatown: Chapter 01 - The Arms of the God
In the opening chapter of Shadow of Chinatown, Eurasian Sonya Rokoff (Luana Walters) is assigned by a group of European businessmen to ruin the lucrative San Francisco Chinatown tourist trade. Rokoff hires a fellow Eurasian, Professor Victor Poten (Bela Lugosi), to wreak havoc, which the good professor does by sending an army of faux Chinese to terrorize Chinatown. Later, Poten, whose hatred to whites is matched only by his disgust of Asians, uses his newest invention, a remote television contraption, to spy on a meeting between the Chinatown merchants, Mayor Foley (Harrison Greene), Police Captain Walters (Forrest Taylor) and a disingenuous Sonya. The conference is interrupted by girl reporter Joan Whiting (Joan Barclay), who has little luck convincing the assemblage to hire noted author -- and Chinatown specialist -- Martin Andrews. Refusing to take "no" for an answer, Joan persuades Martin Andrews (Herman Brix aka Bruce Bennett) to look into the mysterious goings-on, which the author agrees to do only when a couple of Poten's henchmen, Grogan (Charles King) and Healy (William Buchanan), abduct his houseboy Willy Fu (Hawaiian crooner Maurice Liu). Brought to Poten's, Willy is summarily dispatched to a rather damp underground cellar by the professor's other "invention," a giant automaton decked out as a mysterious deity. Into this cozy scene stumble Andrews and Joan. While the pair manages to subdue Grogan, Andrews wanders straight into the giant claws of the automaton. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Shadow of Chinatown: Chapter 05 - The Sinister Ray
Discovering the poisoned needle just in time, Martin Andrews (Herman Brix) only fakes his demise. Joan Whiting (Joan Barclay), however, believes her friend to be dead but, locked up in Poten's attic, manages to attract attention by using the sun's reflection on a mirror. Poten (Bela Lugosi), meanwhile, is also using the sun's ray to make sure that Andrews remains dead. A goldfish bowl is suspended over Martin's head -- the suddenly kindhearted Victor having first ordered the living content saved -- and the rays from the sun reflected through the bowl threaten to disintegrate him. This chapter begs the question of what could be so sinister about sunshine hitting an ordinary goldfish bowl. Are the sun's rays, magnified through glass and water, meant to explode Herman Brix' head? Or did Bela Lugosi intend to scald his victim? Considering the fact that Brix is already believed by the villain to be dead this makes perhaps the weakest and most ludicrous "cliffhanger" ever concocted -- all of which, of course, only adds to Shadow of Chinatown's high camp value. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Shadow of Chinatown: Chapter 09 - The Last Warning
While the prostrate body of Grogan (Charles King) is carried away, Martin Andrews (Herman Brix) finally learns from Joan Whiting (Joan Barclay) that Sonya Rokoff (Luana Walters) is behind the ruination of the San Francisco tourist trade and that Rokoff is planning to also destroy the Los Angeles Chinatown. Having listened in on this conversation, Victor Poten (Bela Lugosi) quickly puts Sonya in a trance lest she reveal his own involvement. As Martin, Joan and Willy Fu (Maurice Liu) examine the catatonic Sonya, Poten fills the stateroom with a mysterious gas. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Shadow of Chinatown: Chapter 10 - The Bomb
Wong (James B. Leong) saves Martin Andrews (Herman Brix), Joan Whiting (Joan Barclay) and Willy Fu (Maurice Liu) in the nick of time from Victor Poten's strange gas but Poten (Bela Lugosi) and the still catatonic Sonya Rokoff (Luana Walters) manage to escape in the ensuing confusion. Revived, the latter is able to disembark in Los Angeles wearing a blonde wig but Martin, Joan and Willy manage to trail her to a hotel. Disturbed by Poten's increasing madness, Ms. Rokoff is about to rat on her boss when the zombified Grogan (Charles King) attacks the party with a hand grenade. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Shadow of Chinatown: Chapter 02 - The Crushing Walls
In chapter two of Shadow of Chinatown, Martin Andrews (Herman Brix) manages to escape in the nick of time before being caught by Victor Poten's automaton. But Poten (Bela Lugosi) is not giving up that easily and has his men abduct Tom Chu (Paul Fung), the leader of the Chinatown merchants, who is dispatched to the watery basement by the automaton. Performing her usual bit of snooping around, snoop sister Joan Whiting (Joan Barclay) blithely wanders into Poten's equally deadly hydraulic chamber, whose walls slowly begin to close on her. Rushing to the rescue, Andrews and Willy Fu (Maurice Liu) are attacked by Grogan (Charles King), Poten's chief henchman. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Shadow of Chinatown: Chapter 07 - The Noose
A table comes between the sword thrower and Martin Andrews (Herman Brix) and the latter is able to rescue Joan Whiting (Joan Barclay) from her imprisonment. Meanwhile, Sonya Rokoff (Luana Walters) persuades Victor Poten (Bela Lugosi) to leave San Francisco for Los Angeles but the couple is tailed by Willy Fu (Maurice Liu), the detective Wong (James B. Leong) and Andrews. Also along for the ride is Joan, whose editor, Harrison (Roger Williams), has received an anonymous tip on Rokoff's sudden departure. Onboard the steamship bound for Los Angeles, a disgruntled Grogan (Charles King) fails in his attempt to execute the increasingly mad Poten with a homemade noose. Using Grogan's mistake to his own benefit, Poten hypnotizes Martin Andrews, dresses him in his, Poten's, clothes and sends him straight into Grogan's waiting wire. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Shadow of Chinatown: Chapter 12 - The Invisible Gas
Both Martin Andrews (Herman Brix) and Joan Whiting (Joan Barclay) are thrown clear as their vehicle crashes into the ravine, emerging slightly shaken but unhurt and able to continue their journey to San Francisco. There, the psychiatrist Dr. Zander (Henry Hall) brings Sonya Rokoff (Luana Walters) out of her trance and the assembly learns of Victor Poten (Bela Lugosi) and his fiendish plan to destroy both the white and the Asian races. Sonya warns Martin et al. that Poten is able to place a new invention, a dictavisa television, at any location he wishes to monitor. "He may have one in this very room," Miss Rokoff adds ominously. Grateful for being saved, Sonya leads the way to Poten's secret laboratory but the madman has set yet another trap: an invisible and odorless gas. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Shadow of Chinatown: Chapter 03 - 13 Ferguson Alley
Andrews (Herman Brix) manages to pull the lever that stops the hydraulic device just in time to prevent Joan Whiting (Joan Barclay) from being crushed. "Don't worry, I'll get 'em the next time," a groggy Grogan (Charles King) tells his boss, Victor Poten (Bela Lugosi). "I won't let ‘em make a sap outta me!" "They don't have to, your parents did an excellent job," Poten sneers. Disguised as a city worker, the fiendish Eurasian then kidnaps Willy Fu (Maurice Liu), Andrews' houseboy and when Andrews goes after him to 13 Ferguson Alley, he is met with an exploding manhole cover, courtesy of Poten. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi


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