Mr. Wong In Chinatown

1572. MR. WONG IN CHINATOWN (1939-USA). WITH Boris Karloff, Marjorie Reynolds, GRANT WITHERS, RICHARD LOO. Boris Karloff may be most fondly recalled for his myriad roles as monsters, murÂderers and other practitioners of movie mayhem. On occasion, he did get to play the good guy: between 1938 and 1940, he starred in the first five films of a six-film series as James Lee Wong, the soft-spoken Chinese sleuth created by HUGH WILEY in stories written for Collier’s magazine. This is the third of the lot, and it’s a nifty thriller in which a damsel in distress is felled by a poison dart while seeking the detective’s help. She turns out to be a Chinese prinÂcess, and is the first victim in a series of baffling murders. Wong is as savvy a mystery solver as Charlie Chan and Mr. Moto, his rival Oriental screen sleuths; it’s no exaggeration when the killer-whose identity we will of course not reveal -observes upon his capture, “You’re a very clever man, Mr. Wong. I congratulate you.” Grant Withers plays Inspector Street, the detective’s fellow crime fighter, a dimwitted flatfoot who too often substitutes brawn for brains; pretty Marjorie Reynolds is Street’s spunky, snoopy reporter girlfriend, who manages to find herself at crime scenes even before the lawbreaking occurs. However, it is Boris KarloffÕs presence, and performance, that make the film a most diverting entertainment. 71 minutes. Crime Mystery Suspense