Monday, 10 November 2014

Shadow of Chinatown (1936)

The Googles tell me this film was originally a 15 part serial.  Perhaps if served up in bit-sized chunks, it would be more interested and less disjointed.  It would still be howlingly sexist, racist, stupid and badly acted.

Now if one is feeling charitable, one might be inclined to make allowances for the first two problems, given the film's age.  The last two are inexcusable in any era, however.

Bela Lugosi plays a Eurasian mobster, hired by another Eurasian in order that they can wreak their "revenge on the white and oriental races", who they both hate.

Yes, I realise the preceding paragraph makes no sense.  The film does not.

Anyway, Lugosi's character isn't just a mobster.  He's also a world-class mesmerist and an expert in electronics who plants tiny bugs everywhere so he can overhear his enemeis' plans.

Which probably makes it all the more embarrassing for him that he's going to be defeated by the worst version of the "intrepid girl reporter" archetype I've ever seen (also the worst acted), and some offensive Chinese stereotypes.

There is nothing to recommend here.

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