The Mask Of Fu Manchu

  • 1932
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Adventure, Horror

Karloff, on loan to MGM after his smash success with Universal Studio's FRANKENSTEIN, plays the evil doctor with twitching mustache and three-inch fingernails. He and daughter Loy are off to fetch the scimitar and golden mask of Genghis Khan. Once obtaining these artifacts from the tomb of the great warlord, Karloff will be able to destroy the white man...read more

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Karloff, on loan to MGM after his smash success with Universal Studio's FRANKENSTEIN, plays the evil doctor with twitching mustache and three-inch fingernails. He and daughter Loy are off to fetch the scimitar and golden mask of Genghis Khan. Once obtaining these artifacts from the tomb of

the great warlord, Karloff will be able to destroy the white man and become conquerer of all the world. Stone, in his pre-Judge Hardy days, is a Scotland Yard detective trying to stop Karloff, but he is too late. Karloff gets the mask and sword and proceeds to carry out his wicked plans. With the

aid of Loy, he conducts a series of bizarre, yet gleefully sadistic, sets of torture on his victims. Hersholt, a British museum official, is placed between slowly enclosing walls decorated with sharp spikes. Morley is cut into pieces, and her fiance, Starrett (who became famous for his "Durango

Kid" series), is injected with a concoction of the better parts of spiders, snakes, and scorpions. In the end, Hersholt escapes and Stone, who is being lowered head first into a pool of crocodiles, manages to get away and turn Karloff's evil death ray on its creator and his offspring. Originally

directed by Vidor, replaced after a few weeks by Brabin, this is the Fu Manchu fan's ultimate movie--superior to the Christopher Lee films of the 1960s. Karloff's characterization is the personification of evil, the right combination of cruelty and sadism. Loy's support is equally fine in her

performance as the depraved woman who is drawn to Starrett. The combined direction of Vidor and Brabin was well meshed, glossing over some holes in the story and wisely emphasizing the camp nature with a fast-paced style. Loy said, in fact, that she and Karloff decided early on that the only way

this bizarre story could be handled was to play it tongue-in-cheek all the way through, which they did. It was Loy's last "oriental" role after 10 years of typecasting as a mysterious, almost always East Asian, vamp.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Karloff, on loan to MGM after his smash success with Universal Studio's FRANKENSTEIN, plays the evil doctor with twitching mustache and three-inch fingernails. He and daughter Loy are off to fetch the scimitar and golden mask of Genghis Khan. Once obtainin… (more)

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