Mr. Wong in Chinatown

Watch Mr. Wong in Chinatown

  • Passed
  • 1939
  • 1 hr 11 min
  • 5.8  (927)

Mr. Wong in Chinatown is a 1939 murder mystery film that follows detective James Lee Wong (Boris Karloff) as he investigates a series of murders that occur in San Francisco's Chinatown. The film opens with wealthy businessman Kirk Jordan (Craig Reynolds) attending a meeting at a Chinese medicine shop with his fiancee, the adventurous newspaper reporter Bobby Logan (Marjorie Reynolds), and his business partner, Tom Gray (John Hamilton).

As the group leaves the shop, Kirk is shot and killed in the street. The police are called in, but Bobby is skeptical of their investigation and contacts James Lee Wong to help solve the case. James Lee Wong quickly identifies various suspects, including Kirk's ex-wife, her new husband, and a group of gangsters who are trying to muscle in on Kirk's business.

While James Lee Wong and Bobby navigate the twists and turns of the case, they are constantly confronted with racist and caricatured depictions of Chinese people. Despite the film's outdated portrayal of Chinese culture, it is worth mentioning that Boris Karloff's portrayal of James Lee Wong is quite dignified and nuanced, and he is often the smartest person in the room.

Throughout the movie, Wong showcases his astute observational skills and fighting prowess while encountering stereotypes and racial slurs. It is also worth mentioning is that this is one of the rare movies featuring an Asian protagonist during a Hollywood era where white actors playing Asians was common.

Mr. Wong in Chinatown is an interesting glimpse into Hollywood's portrayal of Chinese people and attitudes regarding race during the 1930s. Despite the problematic and outdated depictions present in the film, it remains an entertaining and engaging mystery that keeps the audience guessing until the very end.

One of the standout moments of the movie is the rather tense scene in the burned-out Chinese theater in Chinatown. The scene is lit only by glowing coals and the occasional flash of lighting, creating an eerie atmosphere that perfectly captures the film's mood.

Overall, Mr. Wong in Chinatown is a classic Hollywood murder mystery that's worth watching for its fascinating portrayal of a time that is now part of history. The film's depiction of Chinese culture leaves much to be desired but remains a historically significant film for its time, and Boris Karloff's portrayal of James Lee Wong is still enjoyable to watch today.

Mr. Wong in Chinatown is a 1939 mystery with a runtime of 1 hour and 11 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.8.

Mr. Wong in Chinatown
Where to Watch Mr. Wong in Chinatown
Mr. Wong in Chinatown is available to watch free on Tubi TV. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, FlixFling, The Roku Channel and Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Mr. Wong in Chinatown for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 11 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.8  (927)