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THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU (1969)

Article 3202 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-25-2010
Posting Date: 5-21-2010
Directed by Jesus Franco
Featuring Christopher Lee, Richard Greene, Howard Marion-Crawford
Country: West Germany/Italy/Spain/UK/Liechtenstein
What it is: Fu Manchu movie

Fu Manchu plans to take over the world by using a secret formula that turns water into ice.

It took five countries to make this movie?  This is the last of the Christopher Lee Fu Manchu movies, which, given the quality of this one, was no great loss.  What can you say about a movie in which the big opening action sequence (a confused mess) is made up entirely of footage from two other movies (namely, A NIGHT TO REMEMBER (about the Titanic) and THE BRIDES OF FU MANCHU), one of which was in black and white?  I'd say it was either a sign of desperation or a sign of laziness, but in truth, it was probably the sign of an extremely low budget and the fact that nobody seemed to really care about the production. Most of the rest of the movie is full of dead space; do we really need to see the complete coffin-transportation scene to grasp that the doctor and his nurse have been kidnapped by Fu Manchu?  Still, in the movie's defense, I can say this; despite its obvious weaknesses, it never becomes unwatchable, despite the snail's pace.  And one must also remember that much of this movie's reputation is due to MST3K fans who are judging it solely from its appearance on that show, where certain scenes are missing and some plot points get lost in the shuffle; the movie does have a plot that can be sorted out, and a certain amount of your attention can be occupied trying to do so.  In short, as weak as it is, it's not one of the worst movies ever made. And one should keep in my mind that my copy is NOT the recent DVD release by Blue Underground, which is reported as having given the movie a much better presentation.

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