“We’re fighting a thing we can’t understand, with everything against us.”
A 1992 video release removed some of the most offensive dialogue (“Would you all have maidens like this for your wives? Then conquer and breed! Kill the white man and take his women!”), but these scenes have all been restored in the recent DVD release, so modern viewers can see for themselves how riddled with vitriol it truly is: “Men of Asia! The skies are red with the thunderbolts of Genghis Khan! They rain down on the white race… and burn them!” Just as disturbing as these racist rants are the seemingly endless scenes of torture inflicted by Manchu on his various victims, which literally dominate the final 20 minutes or so of the film; while his devices are indeed ingenious, they’re fetishized to the point that your tolerance will likely be sorely tested (mine was).
Watch for Myrna Loy in her last performance as an “exotic temptress”, playing Manchu’s sadistically predatory daughter (she herself is reported to have said, “Say, this is obscene!” when reading the script).
Note: Fu Manchu wouldn’t appear again on-screen until over 30 years later, in the Hammer Studios production The Face of Fu Manchu (starring Christopher Lee in the title role). Read Wikipedia’s article on this infamous character if you’re curious to read about other cinematic adaptations.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
Posted on November 18th, 2010 by admin
Filed under: Original Reviews