|DRUMS OF FU MANCHU (directors: John English/ William Witney; screenwriters: from the book by Sax Rohmer/Franklin Adreon/Morgan B. Cox/Sol Shor/Norman Hall/Ronald Davidson; cinematographer: William Nobles ; editors: Edward Todd/William Thompson; music: Paul Sawtell; cast: Henry Brandon (Fu Manchu), William Royle ( Sir Dennis Nayland Smith), Robert Kellard (Allen Parker), George Cleveland (Professor Parker), Gloria Franklin (Fah Lo Suee), Olaf Hytten (Dr. Petrie), Luana Walters (Mary Randolph), John Merton (Loki); Runtime: 68; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Hiram S. Brown Jr.; VCI Entertainment (Republic); 1940)|
|"Henry Brandon is
excellent as Fu Manchu."
by Dennis Schwartz
The superior 1940
Republic serial of 268 minutes
and 15 chapters is amazingly made into an
efficacious abridged 68 minute feature. It uses
the same title. Directors John English and William Witney
do a nice job with the only serial I can think of
named after the villain. It's based on the book by
Sax Rohmer. The well-written screenplay is by Franklin
Adreon, Morgan B. Cox, Sol
Shor, Norman Hall and Ronald
Davidson. Henry Brandon is
excellent as Fu Manchu.
intense plot is about the villainous Fu Manchu, the
leader of a
gang known as the Si-Fan. Fu Manchu
possesses mystical hypnotic power and through that
power has made a zombie-like slave army for himself.
He sends his minions, called Dacoits, to Central Asia
hoping to start tribal wars that will allow the evil
one to acquire the all-powerful Sacred Scepter
of Genghis Khan. This instrument will give the evil
doctor control of all the tribes in Asia. Fu Manchu is further helped
by Fah-Lo-Suee (Gloria Franklin), his sexy
Eurasian daughter. Thwarting
the evil one's plans are Sir
Nayland Smith (William
Royle), of the
British Foreign Office, his
assistant Dr. Petrie (Olaf
Hytten), and his youthful
American associate Allan Parker (Robert
Professor Parker (George Cleveland),
was killed by Fu Manchu.
popular serial gets its title because
whenever the sinister Dr. Fu Manchu is ready to
kill, sounds of strange drums can be heard coming from
It's one of the better cliffhanger serials.
REVIEWED ON 4/30/2015 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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