Mr Wong in Doomed To Die (1940)

April 16, 2011

James Lee Wong played by Boris Karloff was the Monogram answer to Mr. Moto, Charlie Chan, Sherlock Holmes, and the Thin Man. Doomed To Die starred Marjorie Reynolds as a reporter, Grant Withers as a captain of homicide and this duo tried to act seriously and slapstick trying to solve the murder of steamship owner whose passenger liner recently burned killing 400 people. This was the fifth in the series and the last appearance of Karloff. The Tong group were involved but in what way? Wong, who is played by Karloff and the straight man, tries to solve the mystery. I think it tried to appeal to too many people and failed on most counts. It was very difficult to see Karloff playing an oriental detective especially given the fact that his British accent came through loud and clear! About all they did was make him up so his eyes were slanted. This film is in public domain and available for free viewing on the internet movie database but I still think an hour of your time could be better spent watching something else. The weakest of the oriental series by a wide margin. The musical score from Kay contained its usual amounts of moments where a much better track could have been used; it didn’t fit. (*1/2)

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