THE FATAL HOUR (1940)
Article 5115 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by William Nigh
Featuring Boris Karloff, Marjorie Reynolds, Grant Withers
What it is: Mystery
Mr. Wong helps Captain Street investigate the murder of a fellow cop who was investigating a smuggling racket.
I have a copy of this movie in a fifty-movie megapack from Treeline called “Horror Classics”, but it doesn’t belong; it’s clearly a mystery, and never even nudges into horror. It does nudge into science fiction, however; one of the murders involves a “radio remote”, which can work from 200 feet away from the radio, and I suspect this was beyond the technology of the time. The use of this gimmick is certainly the most novel thing about this movie; the rest of it is a poorly written compendium of cliches and sometimes embarrassingly bad dialogue. Karloff does what he can with what he is given to work with, but far too much time is spent on the byplay between Grant Withers’ cranky cop and the intrusive female reporter played by Marjorie Reynolds. I’ve only seen one other movie in the Mr. Wong series for these reviews, and that one was superior to this one.