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DOOMED TO DIE (director: William Nigh; screenwriters: Michael Jacoby/based on a story by Ralph Bettinson; cinematographer: Harry Neumann; editor: Robert Golden; music: Edward Kay; cast: Boris Karloff (Wong), Grant Withers (Captain Bill Street), Marjorie Reynolds (Bobbie Logan), Melvin Lang (Cyrus Wentworth), Guy Usher (Paul Fleming), William Stelling (Dick Fleming), Catherine Craig (Cynthia Wentworth), Harry Brandon (Victor Martin), Wilbur Mack (Mathews), Kenneth Harlan (Ludlow, the chauffeur); Runtime: 68; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Scott Dunlap; UA/Monogram Pictures; 1940)

“Routine but enjoyable fifth entry in the Mr. Wong series.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Boris Karloff stars as master Chinese detective for the fifth and last time in the routine but enjoyable fifth entry in the Mr. Wong series. The sixth entry starring the Asian Keye Luke was the last in the series. William Nigh (“The Strange Case of Dr. X”/”The Ape”/”I Wouldn’t Be In Your Shoes”)directs in a snappy business-like style.It’s written byMichael Jacoby from a story by Ralph Bettinson.

Cyrus Wentworth (Melvin Lang), the noted wealthy shipping magnate from San Francisco, is despondent over recent shipping loses and that his ship the Wentworth Castle was destroyed by fire and over three hundred passengers, many of them Chinese, lost their lives. He’s also worried that he broke the law by secretly allowing the Chinese Tong to smuggle into the country on his ship contraband bonds. He’s further upset that his daughter Cynthia (Catherine Craig) is going against his wishes to elope with Dick Fleming (William Stelling). His father (Guy Usher) is Cyrus’s shipping rival, and he can’t stand him.When Dick is in Cyrus’s office arguing over the marriage, gun shots are fired by an unseen assailant, and Dick runs away but is later arrested and charged with the murder by homicide captain Bill Street (Grant Withers). Brash reporter Bobbie Logan (Marjorie Reynolds), a friend of Cynthia’s, calls in detective Mr. Wong to investigate and possibly clear Dick.Wong goes to Chinatown and uncovers a smuggling ring operating among the Wentworth employees, and is able to nab the guilty parties and free the innocent Dick


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”