Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Fu Manchu's as Evil as Ever

Cleveland Press October 29, 1965

Reviving old movies and old characters is a precarious business. New portrayals of old favorites never quite come up to hazy, pleasant memories. And reviving the oldies themselves can be a jolting experience, the movie techniques of 20 and 30 years ago seeming woefully inadequate.

The producers of this latest Fu Manchu film have avoided both pitfalls. Though all dressed up in color and wide screen and decked out with fine acting the film still takes place during some indeterminate period in the '30's with its high, square autos, open cockpit planes and other unsophisticated trappings.

And in a period when espionage and suspense films are played for laughs, this one is played straight. There are no in jokes, no sex and no spoofing.

The ultra-sophisticate may find the broad melodramatic flourishes and the heroics unacceptable, but this isn't a film for the ultra-sophisticate.

WHAT THIS is is a movie for people who like thrillers, good guy vs. bad guy stuff with a modicum of suspense and lots of action. The film is no cinematic triumph but for what it is, it is a good, well made movie.

Christopher Lee, as the evil genius of the title role, is sinister without being hammy.

His nemesis from Scotland Yard, Nigel Green, seems to be the proper combination of brain and brawn. The other parts are well-acted.

The plot concerns the attempts of Fu Manchu to control the world with the use of a potent fluid, a few drops of which can wipe out thousands.

Good triumphs over evil, but the ending is left just inconclusive enough to clear the way for more movies about the sinister Oriental.

Perhaps the earlier setting is the proper one. Fu Manchu and his gang of stranglers would be out of place in this atomic age.