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The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)

Englishmen race to find the tomb of Genghis Khan before the sinister Fu Manchu does.

Directors:

Charles Brabin, Charles Vidor (uncredited)

Writers:

Irene Kuhn (screen play), Edgar Allan Woolf (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Boris Karloff ... Dr. Fu Manchu
Lewis Stone ... Nayland Smith
Karen Morley ... Sheila Barton
Charles Starrett ... Terrence Granville
Myrna Loy ... Fah Lo See
Jean Hersholt ... Von Berg
Lawrence Grant ... Sir Lionel Barton
David Torrence ... McLeod
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Storyline

Englishmen race to find the tomb of Genghis Khan. They have to get there fast, as the evil genius Dr. Fu Manchu is also searching, and if he gets the mysteriously powerful relics, he and his diabolical daughter will enslave the world! Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Important! Do not Confuse This Picture With Previous "Fu Manchu" Productions. This is a New "Fu" in a New Story. See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 November 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La máscara de Fu-Manchú See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$327,627 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the book "The Films of Myrna Loy" by Lawrence J. Quirk: "She recalls that she and Karloff decided between themselves that the only intelligent way that this movie could possibly be played was subtly tongue-in-cheek." See more »

Goofs

During his fight with two of Fu Manchu's minions, Terry's shirt is ripped to shreds. In the next scene when he and Nyland rescue their friend from the spikes, Terry's shirt is intact, although unbuttoned. See more »

Quotes

Nayland Smith: As I remember, that's the Sing Song shop at a place known as the House of Ten Thousand Joys.
Von Berg: You are going there?
Nayland Smith: Yes. I'm sure that it leads to Fu Manchu.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the 1970's, "Mask of Fu Manchu" was cut slightly (by about 2 minutes), removing references deemed particularly offensive to the Asian-American community (including several racial remarks and an extended version of the famous whipping scene). It is actually this cut version which MGM/UA released in the early 1990's on videotape, although the deleted segments were restored for the print of "Mask of Fu Manchu" used for the later laserdisc release "MGM Horror Classics," and the more recent DVD release. See more »

Connections

Follows The Cafe L'Egypte (1924) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Yellow Peril
30 October 2009 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

It didn't surprise me in the least that The Mask Of Fu Manchu was produced by Cosmopolitan Pictures. Even though the title is a bit of a misnomer. It isn't about The Mask Of Fu Manchu, it's about the mask and sword of Ghenghis Khan which Boris Karloff as Fu Manchu wants to discover and appropriate for himself so he can become a kind of Far Eastern Mahdi.

Cosmopolitan Pictures was the production outfit of William Randolph Hearst and while it's main reason for existence was to produce films for Marion Davies, it did produce other films. The Hearst press, especially on the West Coast was very big in stirring up anti-Chinese and anti- Japanese feelings among the white people constantly using the phrase The Yellow Peril to describe how if they're allowed to emigrate her they'll be taking over in a few generations. The fictional Fu Manchu fit the Hearst agenda quite nicely.

In the Fu Manchu stories it's like Professor Moriarty was the main protagonist. Fu Manchu's particular Holmes is Commissioner Nayland Smith played by Lewis Stone as stout a representative of the United Kingdom and their imperial pretensions as ever went out in the noon day sun.

As I said Fu Manchu is after the warrior symbols of Ghengis Khan so he can lead the Oriental people to their rightful place. Interestingly this Oriental messiah seems to have a number of black slaves doing his bidding in the film. The British government as personified by Nayland Smith wants archaeologists Jean Hersholt, David Torrance and Lawrence Grant to find the tomb and get this so the British can display it at the British Museum in London as a symbol of their superiority. Grant is kidnapped and tortured by Karloff, but Grant's daughter Karen Morley and her boyfriend, future Durango Kid Charles Starrett takes her father's place on the expedition.

Though I think that The Mask Of Fu Manchu is every bit as racist in its attitudes as The Birth Of A Nation, like The Birth Of A Nation it has some great performances. Led of course by that master of horror, Boris Karloff. Karloff played so many different and varied types in his long career, being Chinese was no big deal for him to play. Later on Karloff kind of made it up to the Chinese people by playing the educated detective Mr. Wong who unlike Charlie Chan never spoke in fortune cookie aphorisms.

Myrna Loy is Fu Manchu's 'unworthy' daughter and this is at the height of the phase in her career where she played Oriental temptresses. She conceives a real liking for Starrett to turn him into her Occidental boy toy. She's a willing and eager accomplice in her father's dirty deeds, perhaps to show herself as worthy.

The Mask Of Fu Manchu is as racist a film as you can get, but it's also holding up quite well as entertainment. And who was ever more sinister on the screen than Boris Karloff playing anything?


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