Watch The Face of Fu Manchu
- 1 hr 36 min
In The Face of Fu Manchu, Christopher Lee takes on the iconic role of the diabolical villain, Fu Manchu. The movie, released in 1965, is a classic example of the spy thrillers that were popular in the 1960s. It is the first film in a five-part series that followed the adventures of the titular character. The plot of the movie centres around the notorious master criminal Fu Manchu, who is determined to bring the world to its knees. He has developed a formula that will make him and his followers immune to death from natural causes, making them essentially invincible. To this end, he is kidnapping brilliant scientists and forcing them to work for him, in order to perfect the formula.
One scientist who has fallen under Fu Manchu's sway is Professor Van Berg, who has perfected the process of creating mummies that can be brought back to life. Van Berg is kidnapped and brought to Fu Manchu's secret lair, where he is forced to create the final version of the formula. Meanwhile, in order to throw off the police and his enemies, Fu Manchu is disguising himself as a harmless old man, posing as a respected oriental expert in London.
Detective Nayland Smith, played by Nigel Green, and his friend Dr. Petrie, played by Joachim Fuchsberger, are the only ones who know the true danger of Fu Manchu. They are determined to stop him from carrying out his deadly plan, but they must contend with Fu Manchu's deadly henchmen, his brainwashed followers, and a series of traps and obstacles that are designed to thwart their efforts.
From the opening sequence, the movie crackles with energy and excitement. The film is expertly directed by Don Sharp, who keeps the action moving at a brisk pace. The sets are elaborate and colorful, presenting a vivid, almost hallucinatory version of Fu Manchu's world. This is aided by the striking cinematography of Ernest Steward, who makes great use of bold, saturated colors and dramatic lighting.
The performances in The Face of Fu Manchu are uniformly excellent, starting with Christopher Lee's unforgettable performance as the titular villain. Lee, who was famous for his roles in Hammer horror movies, brings a sinister charm to the role, making Fu Manchu one of the most memorable movie villains of all time. Nigel Green is also impressive as the intrepid detective Nayland Smith, bringing a steely determination and dry wit to the role. Joachim Fuchsberger is also excellent as Dr. Petrie, whose intelligence and resourcefulness are essential in defeating Fu Manchu.
The action sequences in the movie are impressive and well-staged, with plenty of martial arts fights, car chases, and explosions. The climax, set inside Fu Manchu's secret lair, is particularly memorable, featuring a madcap struggle among the heroes and villains involving trap doors, secret passages, and deadly poison.
Despite the lurid thrills and larger-than-life characters, The Face of Fu Manchu also has a subtle political subtext. The movie was made during the height of the Cold War, and it is clear that Fu Manchu is meant to evoke the fears surrounding the rise of communism in Asia. The movie also touches on themes of cultural identity and imperialism, with the British heroes constantly struggling to reconcile their own beliefs with the exotic, sometimes mystical practices of Fu Manchu and his minions.
Overall, The Face of Fu Manchu is a classic spy thriller that has aged surprisingly well. It is an exciting, visually arresting movie that is driven by a strong cast and a compelling story. While the film may be somewhat dated in its cultural references and cinematic techniques, it remains a must-see for anyone who loves a good, old-fashioned adventure.
The Face of Fu Manchu is a 1965 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 36 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.8.