Suggested by the story “The Twelve Coins of Confucius” by Harry Stephen Keeler
Screenplay by Nina Howatt
Directed by William Nigh (Black Dragons, The Strange Case of Dr. Rx)
Plot: There are murders in Chinatown and news reporter Jay Barton is on the trail when he encounters the nefarious Mr. Wong. Wong is in search of the legendary twelve coins of Confucius in hopes of power and glory.
Personal Thoughts: Well, not every Lugosi film is a gem. Some are harder to make it through than others and this one was a little tough. First, let it be known that Lugosi plays an Asian character and that is clearly insensitive by today’s standards. However, in 1934, it was normal for Hollywood. Add in Lugosi’s accent and it makes even less sense. All the usual plot elements are present (news reporter, female lead shows no interest until her life is in jeopardy, things wrap up quickly after several false leads) but the story does plod along until the final act. It is fun seeing Lugosi prepare to torture Jay and Peg but it takes way too long to get there. Not Lugosi’s best and it should not be too high on your to watch list.
- Not part of the Boris Karloff Mr. Wong film series.
- This film is one of many that Lugosi did for Monogram Pictures and is in the public domain.