The Vengeance of Fu Manchu
Die Rache des Dr. Fu Man Chu
UK / Ireland / West Germany / Hong Kong / Singapore 1967
Harry Alan Towers for Terra-Filmkunst, Constantin Film, Shaw Brothers, Anglo-Amalgamated
directed by Jeremy Summers
starring Christopher Lee, Tony Ferrer, Tsai Chin, Douglas Wilmer, Wolfgang Kieling, Suzanne Roquette, Howard Marion-Crawford, Noel Trevarthen, Horst Frank, Peter Carsten, Maria Rohm, Mona Chong, Eddie Byrne
screenplay by Peter Welbeck (= Harry Alan Towers), based on characters created by Sax Rohmer, music by Malcolm Lockyer, Gert Wilden (alternate score: German version)
Fu Manchu, Harry Alan Towers' Fu Manchu
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Of course, supervillain Fu Manchu (Christopher Lee) is supposed to be
dead - but actually he only wants his ememies to believe that while
actually he retreats to a Chinese province he cuts off completely from the
other world, officially blaming an earthquake for it, and here he and his
daughter Lin Tang (Tsai Chin) reside and plot world domination, by uniting
all criminals under his umbrella and destroying the police on an
In the meantime, Fu Manchu's key enemy Nayland
Smith (Douglas Wilmer) meets in Paris with other key members of the
international police to formally create Interpol, to counter supervillains
like Fu Manchu. But this is a move Fu Manchu has anticipated, so he has
kidnapped plastic surgeon Dr. Lieberson (Wolfgang Kieling) and his
daughter Maria (Suzanne Roquette) to force him to transform his willing
henchmen into the likeness of his mortal enemies, and then let them commit
murder and be executed. Of course, his first victim is Nayland Smith, and
while Nayland Smith's double commits murder on his maid (Mona Chong) in
front of his friend Dr. Petrie (Howard Marion-Crawford) and FBI agent
Weston (Noel Trevarthen) and is ultimately hanged for it, Fu Manchu has
the real Smith shipped to his palace to execute him personally. But Weston
somehow gets a hunch about the involvement of Fu Manchu in all of this,
and has an American criminal who acts as an underworld ambassador, Rudy
Moss (Horst Frank), followed to Fu Manchu's hide-out, and together with
Singapore chief of police Ramos (Tony Ferrer) and his men, he ultimately
storms the palace, and they, together with Nayland Smith, but an end to Fu
Manchu's evildoings - for now ...
A subplot involves Rudy's
girlfriend (Maria Rohm), a nightclub singer who eventually falls for her
boss (Peter Carsten), and after they turn up on the radar of the police,
they have no problem finding Fu Manchu's secret palace in the allegedly
cut off province. However, they're quick to side with Smith and company.
The Vengeance of Fu Manchu is no disaster for sure, but it's
definitely not one of the better Fu Manchu films. Basically,
while Fu Manchu's creator Sax Rohmer in his novels has
always been very concise and acute about his character's plans to create a
maximum of tension without having to veer off too far to divert from the
main story, this movie is based on an over-complicated scheme of its main
villain that leads to an over-concoluted story that at times abandons
logic even. And while Christopher Lee might be a great actor, he just
isn't very convincing as evil Chinaman - but in all fairness, he isn't
given very much opportunity to do anything else than look menacingly.
all said, the film's still fun, it's a naive adventure yarn, typical of
the era it was shot in, that's endearing precisely because of its
far-fetched plot, its leaps of reason (like why has nobody any problem
getting to Fu Manchu's secret palace in a cut off province), its silly
subplots, and its colourful exotic locale, both real and fake.
classic by a longshot ... but fun!