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The Mystery of Mr. Wong

USA 1939
produced by
William T. Lackey, Scott R. Dunlap (executive) for Monogram Pictures
directed by William Nigh
starring Boris Karloff, Grant Withers, Dorothy Tree, Craig Reynolds, Ivan Lebedeff, Holmes Herbert, Morgan Wallace, Lotus Long, Chester Gan, Hooper Atchley, Joe Devlin, Lee Tung Foo
written by Scott Darling, based on characters created by Hugh Wiley, music by Edward J. Kay

Mister Wong

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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At his own birthday party, rich antique dealer Edwards (Morgan Wallace) confesses to Mr.Wong (Boris Karloff) that his life is in serious danger as he holds one of the most valuable gems in his safe, & he also tells Wong that, should he be killed, a letter (also in his safe) will reveal the identity of the murderer.

Of course, that very same evening, at that very some party, he is shot, & in front of all the guests at a charade game, where him being shot is part of the perfomance, too.

The shot in the stageplay was fired by Peter Harrison (Craig Reynolds), his secretary & secret lover of his wife Valerie (Dorothy Tree), but did he put the lethal bullet in the gun full of blanks ? or was it Valerie, who more & more detested her husband ? or was it the weird team of Russian opera singer Strogonoff (Ivan Lebedeff), guest of the house, & Edwards' own maid Trina (Lotus Long) ? Maybe the sinister Butler Sing (Chester Gan) ?

However, both the gem & the letter containing the killer's identity have disappeared, & while inspector Street (Grant Withers) jumps to conclusions as usual & arrests Harrison - who did fire the shot after all, or did he - Wong & fellow master criminologist Janney (Holmes Herbert) try to look for more traces leading to either the letter or the killer (which is pretty much the same, actually).

& while (to little surprise) it is finally revealed that the lethal bullet was not fired from Harrison's gun, thus proving him innocent, Trina has a fall-out with Strogonoff, who is actually her lover & the two planned to steal the gem (but didn't succeed), & Trina threatens to send the letter - which she had wisely stolen from the safe only minutes after Edwards was murdered - to Wong. However, she doesn't live long enough to do so, as she only minutes afterwards is killed by a poiisoned cigarette (who said smoking wasn't bad for you).

Street again wastes no time to make an arrest & this time it's Strogonoff - which seems a fairly reasonable choice, considering the evidence ...

But then Wong is called by Sing who tells him he has found the letter, but is struck down before gioving any more information.

Now Wong decides to go for a bluff & claims Sing has already sent the letter to him, so the next day, everybody involved (& still living) shows up at his house: Harrison, Valerie, Janney, Edwards' lawyer Carslake (Hooper Atchley), who has been among the suspects briefly, too, & Strogonoff, who has been cleared of suspicion by the assault on Sing.

& the killer was of course ... Janney, the fellow criminologist who proved to be no match for Wong, having left traces all along the way & having killed Edwards' because he drove his first wife, Janney's sister, to suicide.

& the gem, you may ask. It was only a diversion, & almost casually, Janeny hands it over to Wong.

 

Run-of-the-mill B-whodunit which has rather too obvious a culprit to really keep you guessing - the second criminologist just doesn't fit the picture unless he is the killer. & as usual, Karloff's perfomance is good - one just wishes he didn't have to play a Chinaman, as because of his tall stature, his soft-spoken voice & very careful British pronounciation he totally fails to convince.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD