1 December 2010 | jonfrum2000
Very good for this genre
When compared to the typical genre mystery of it's time, this movie is quite good. Karloff raises the level with his measured acting, and the film is mercifully free of the comic relief clowning that was so common at the time.
This is one of those 'house' mysteries. Most of the action occurs in one house - the house of a wealthy man, as always. And, as is so often true in the genre, the detective just happens to be on the scene when the murder occurs. Another plus for this film is that the policeman - Detective Street - is not a buffoon. Street is less a foil than an aid to Mr Wong, allowing us to take the story seriously - although we can't be too serious. There are obvious red herrings, and sudden reveals of facts we didn't have. For all that, the Wong series came after the clunkiness of the early talkies had been worked out, and the acting is much closer to what we would come to expect from classic studio products.
Although I always struggle with Karloff as a Chinese - unlike the Chan series, for some reason - I have to say the role he played got the job done. This film is out of copyright, and is available online for free, and on at least one low-priced mystery collection. I found it at the library in a 5 CD Mystery and Murder set.