Watch The Fatal Hour
- 1 hr 8 min
The Fatal Hour is a classic film noir from 1940 that starred iconic horror movie star Boris Karloff in a non-horror role. The movie is directed by William Nigh and is a part of the Mr. Wong series. The film is noted for its suspenseful plot, excellent performances, and moody visuals. The story of The Fatal Hour revolves around a series of murders that takes place in the Chinatown district of San Francisco. Boris Karloff plays the role of James Lee Wong, a Chinese detective who is called upon to solve the case. The murders are all linked to a mysterious person called Mr. G, who is terrorizing the citizens of Chinatown. One of the victims is a police officer named Captain Street, who was investigating the case before he was killed.
The plot of the movie is intriguing, and the filmmakers have done an excellent job of keeping the audience engaged throughout the film. There are plenty of twists and turns in the story that keep the audience guessing who the culprit might be. The script is tightly written and the pacing of the film is just right. The film does an excellent job of building tension, and the final confrontation scene is genuinely thrilling.
The performances of the actors in The Fatal Hour are noteworthy, especially that of Boris Karloff. Karloff gives a nuanced and low-key performance as Wong, and it is refreshing to see him in a non-horror role. His character is intelligent, witty, and charming, and he carries the film effortlessly. Marjorie Reynolds plays the role of Bobbie Logan, the love interest of Grant Withers' character, and she delivers a good performance as well. Grant Withers plays the role of Detective Jerry Murphy, who is assisting Wong in solving the case, and he is convincing in his role. The rest of the cast turns in solid performances as well.
The cinematography of the movie is excellent, and the set design and costumes are also noteworthy. The film uses shadows and darkness effectively, creating a moody atmosphere that is typical of the film noir genre. The music score is well done, heightening the tension and adding to the overall impact of the film.
The film has its flaws, of course, mostly owing to its era. The portrayal of Chinese characters is stereotypical, and the film does not challenge any of the prevalent racial attitudes of the time. Also, the film's pacing might feel a bit slow to modern audiences, who are used to more rapid-fire storytelling.
Overall, The Fatal Hour is a highly recommended film for fans of the film noir genre or Boris Karloff himself. The excellent story, performances, and visuals make it a standout entry in the Mr. Wong series. Fans of classic cinema who enjoy mystery and suspense will undoubtedly enjoy this film. The Fatal Hour may be a product of its time, but it remains a highly entertaining and well-made film more than 80 years after its original release.
The Fatal Hour is a 1940 mystery with a runtime of 1 hour and 8 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.4.