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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Phantom of Chinatown (1940)



Reviews and Comments

This last entry in the Mr. Wong series is a stretch: the indispensible Boris Karloff was replaced by Keye Luke, best known, I suppose, for playing Charlie Chan's number one son. The intention was to set this mystery at an earlier time in Mr. Wong's life, but it's hard to reconcile Keye Luke's character as being the one and the same as Boris Karloff's, especially when the other regular characters are unchanged.

Still, this episode is on a par with the series average. It's about the fall-out of an archeological expedition, during which one of the members mysteriously disappears, and an ancient scroll, now missing, appears to have all the answers. It cannot be taken seriously, and indeed there isn't a single scene that is convincing or compelling outside the world of low budget whodunnits, but it's serviceable enough as what it is.

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