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The Mysterious Mr. Wong (1934): Not Mysterious, But Mr. VERY Wrong

The Mysterious Mr. Wong (William Nigh, 1934)

 

photo credit: wikipedia

Confucius say, “White man who play Chinese man need to work on accent.”

I know that when reviewing a film from the so-called good old days, a reviewer is supposed to look at the moral structure of the film from a contemporary standpoint and rationalize that, say, a movie’s casual racism is just a product of its time. And mostly, I try to do that. But every once in a while I run across a movie that’s so ridiculously “politically incorrect” that I can’t imagine that even when it was released there weren’t people who were left gaping at how incredibly racist the movie they just saw was. The Mysterious Mr. Wong, a dumb, no-budget Bela Lugosi vehicle, is about as close to a perfect definition of that sentiment as one would ever fear to come across. Do yourself a favor and avoid this if you have a racially sensitive bone in your body; it goes out of its way to offend, well, pretty much everyone. On the other hand, it does have that bloody-car-accident draw to it, where one can’t believe that anyone involved in the making of this didn’t go home and shower with steel wool every night to get the stink off. *

 

The full movie, available on Youtube. (Actually, this would seem to be a cut version, as it runs less than fifty-one minutes, while the version available at Netflix Instant as I write this runs sixty-two.)

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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