The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

THE FATAL HOUR (1940) **

Boris Karloff returns for his fourth Mr. Wong adventure.  This time out, Mr. Wong, “The Chinese Copper” is looking for a cop killer at the behest of the lantern jawed Captain Street (series regular Bill Withers).  The killer uses remote control to manufacture his alibis, but Mr. Wong is smart and stuff and he figures it all out.


I know that Caucasians playing Orientals in “yellow face” isn’t exactly considered “PC” in our overly sensitive times, but folks when you watch as many movies in The Video Vacuum as I have, you learn to appreciate seeing great horror movie stars parading around in second rate Charlie Chan knockoffs pretending to be Asian.  I don’t think that this movie could piss Asian-Americans off anyway because Karloff doesn’t LOOK remotely Asian and he doesn’t even ATTEMPT to sound Asian either.  At all times, he looks, sounds, and acts like Boris Karloff. 


The problem with The Fatal Hour is that Mr. Wong is more or less a side character in his own movie as the main thrust of the story has Captain Street doing most of the snooping.  All of the actors in the film that don’t have “Boris” and “Karloff” in their name are all pretty weak and unmemorable.  The plot is also thoroughly ho-hum, making this one of Mr. Wong’s lesser outings.  While I do enjoy most of these old hour long detective flicks from the 30’s and 40’s, even I have to admit that The Fatal Hour is mediocre in just about every respect.  Die hard Karloff fans will still want to give it a look though.


AKA:  Mr. Wong at Headquarters.

Tags: f, karloff, thriller

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