HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Raya and the Last Dragon
Letter from Paris
Behind the Mask
Lucky
Matrix, The
Undergods
Betrayed
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
   
 
  Terror of the Tongs, The Fu Manchu In All But Name
Year: 1961
Director: Anthony Bushell
Stars: Christopher Lee, Yvonne Monlaur, Geoffrey Toone, Marne Maitland, Brian Worth, Ewen Solon, Roger Delgado, Richard Leech, Charles Lloyd Pack, Maria Burke, Barbara Brown, Burt Kwouk, Tom Gill, Eric Young, Milton Reid
Genre: Horror, Thriller, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1910 and the place is Hong Kong, which is labouring under the grip of the dreaded Red Dragon Tong, an organised crime syndicate that has a clawed finger in every pie in the area. A British ship's captain, Jackson Sale (Geoffrey Toone), doesn't believe this has anything to do with him even if the island is his destination, and as he entertains a Chinese scholar, Mr Ming (Burt Kwouk), he listens patiently to his stories but cannot see what he can do about the problem. However, he will soon be forced into action...

After The Stranglers of Bombay was a big hit for the Hammer studio, they began to churn out historical adventures with a violent tone in earnest, not as many as their horror pictures but enough to represent a minor place in their output. If the genuine chillers are the ones that they are best recalled for, then works like this one still have their fans, although mainly among those familiar with their other films rather than newcomers or casual viewers, but watched today they tended to lack the bite, if you will, of the vampire efforts, or indeed the other shockers they released.

One of the problems with Terror of the Tongs was that it is now inescapably dated due to its casting, with practically every major Chinese character played by a Western actor sporting eye makeup to render their appearance more Eastern. It was not a rare sight in movies ever since their inception, but was beginning to die out around the sixties, although Christopher Lee was a performer with more of these roles than many other stars thanks to his Fu Manchu series that he took the title part in. Here he was Fu in all but name, obviously indebted to Sax Rohmer's creation and very much coming off second best.

The fact that not every European actor playing Chinese actually wore the starched eyelids made it slightly more disconcerting, as when the female lead Yvonne Monlaur appeared you were unsure as to whether she was supposed to be a local or not thanks to her eschewing the type of arrangement Lee wore and opting for heavy mascara instead. Even in her black wig, nobody was going to be fooled, but if you can put the racial issues to one side, did this story stand up otherwise? The answer to that was those issues were hard to ignore when a paranoia about Chinese gangs was informing every aspect of the script, this time by Hammer's go-to man Jimmy Sangster.

So Mr Ming is bumped off by a Tong agent (killing off Burt Kwouk so early in your film is always a mistake) but not before he passes on a list of high up conspirators hidden in a book offered to Sale's daughter (Barbara Brown), which the bad guys are keen to track down for understandable reasons. When they do, this results in a surprisingly ruthless plot twist which showed that if nothing else, Sangster meant business in showing his villains to be as formidable as possible, and so Sale is left to tackle them practically single-handed until he manages to work up some assistance, with Monlaur's Lee (not Christopher) falling in love with him - more prejudice arises when the script decides they cannot be together for the final scene. For a man who drinks fifteen pints of brandy a day, Sale is a capable enough hero, but in spite of moments of vivid nastiness to distinguish it this was a little drab, even with that bright Technicolor. Music by James Bernard.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2919 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: