Doomed To Die a James Lee Wong mystery
Boris Karloff, Marjorie Reynolds
Directed by William Nigh
Fullscreen Black and White
Originally released 1940
MGM 2011 68 minutes
Horror great Boris Karloff as a detective? That is what you get with Doomed To Die aka The Mystery of Wentworth Castle. Karloff plays detective James Lee Wong for fifth and last time. This is a B-movie with B-list supporting actors. This mystery is not a classic but it is entertaining. Doomed To Die is an MGM Limited Edition Collection on demand release. It features a decent enough Fullscreen print that shows its age.
Shipping magnate Cyrus Wentworth had a very bad day: One of his ships burned at sea, killing 400; he got into a deal with shady bonds; his competitor’s son just told him he wants to marry his daughter; and someone killed him.
Police Captain Street is convinced the son-in-law did it. Journalist Bobbie Logan (Marjorie Reynolds of Holiday Inn fame) happens to be best friends with Wentworth’s daughter Cynthia and she gets detective James Lee Wong on the case.
Resemblances between James Lee Wong and Charlie Chan are not a coincidence. This said, Karloff’s Wong looks and sounds more like a Brit with weird eye makeup.
This mystery is sometimes clever but rather heavy handed in just about every aspect. The banter between Bobbie Logan and Captain Street makes up for that somewhat
Doomed To Die has one particularly weird moment: Wong starts talking to a young looking Tong leader who then immediately ages a good forty years for the rest of the conversation but becomes younger in the closing shot.
Fans of B-movie mysteries will enjoy this one for what it is.
Other MGM Limited Edition on demand titles:
My Guy Is Quick – Mike Hammer DVD