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VCI - Mr. Wong Collection, Jungle Queen, Cisco Kid

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#1 of 6 OFFLINE   gunthertoody


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Posted February 02 2008 - 04:19 PM

Via Classicflix.com:

Many have been waiting for a re-release of all six Mr. Wong films and VCI delivers!

The Roan Group's two-disc set release nine years ago, (yes nine years ago - seems odd to think DVD's have been around that long) has become a scarce and very pricey collectors item. But now, on March 25th, all six films are coming back in a two-disc set courtesy of **VCI**. The Mr. Wong Collection will retail for just $19.99, but is available at Classicflix.com for only $14.99. However, for 3 days only (until February 5th), we'll have it for the SPECIAL PRE-ORDER PRICE of $11.98.

Details below:

Cashing in on the success of both Charlie Chan and Mr. Moto, Monogram Pictures ushered in their own Oriental detective series in 1938 with Boris Karloff as Mr. Wong, Detective. With horror films temporarily in the doldrums and his career needing a fresh tangent, Karloff jumped at the chance to play the gentlemanly and dignified sleuth of Hugh Wiley stories. This turned out to be a lucky break for Monogram too. In 1939 horror films returned with a vengeance and Karloff who had been making more expensive thrillers for Universal and somewhat cheaper ones for Columbia, was suddenly a much bigger name than Monogram could have afforded were he not already under contract. Karloff went on to star in a total of five Mr. Wong films for Monogram between 1938 and 1940. The sixth and final film in the series, Phantom of Chinatown, was issued in 1940 and actually starred Keye Luke who replaced Karloff as a younger Mr. Wong.

Mr. Wong, Detective (1938, 69 min.)
When business magnate Simon Dayton is found dead inside his locked office moments after police detective Sam Street saw him at the window, renowned private detective James Lee Wong joins forces with the homicide squad to interpret the only clues found at the scene--tiny fragments of delicate glass. Soon sinister agents of foreign powers start appearing in the shadows, Dayton's business partners start dying under equally mysterious circumstances, and Wong and Street have to race against time to prevent more murders, including, possibly their own.

The Mystery of Mr. Wong (1939, 67 min.)
When a wealthy collector of Chinese antiques, with a list of enemies as long as a phone directory is accidentally shot during a game of charades, brilliant Chinese detective James Lee Wong immediately suspects foul play. His suspicions are confirmed when it is discovered that a valuable gem has been stolen from the collector's safe, and Captain Street of Homicide shows up mere moments after the shooting, explaining that the murder was reported 20 minutes ago. Wong, Street, and their old friend Professor Janney combine wits and resources to solve this most perplexing case.

Mr. Wong in Chinatown (1939, 70 min.)
The famous private detective James Lee Wong takes it personally when a Chinese princess is killed with a poison dart in his own home. He sets out to find her killer, with help from reporter Bobbie Logan, the latest bad-choice-of-dates for Wong's friend, Captain Street of Homicide. The trail leads to international arms-smugglers, shady bankers, mute midgets, and tea-sipping Tong leaders, any of whom may have done in the princess.

The Fatal Hour (1940, 68 min.)
When a common close friend is murdered while investigating smuggling on the San Francisco waterfront, private detective James Lee Wong, crime-beat reporter Bobbie Logan, and Captain Street of Homicide devote all their skills to finding the killer. Their respective investigations zero in on a failing retailer of imitation Chinese antiques, a waterfront nightclub being run by a shady gambler, and the obscure connections that exist between them. When more bodies start to pile up, Wong must solve the case, or become a victim himself. But how can he hope to catch a killer who can commit murder within Street's own squad room?

Doomed to Die (1940, 67 min.)
When shipping magnate Cyrus Wentworth is murdered, Captain Street immediately arrests the only possible suspect: The disgruntled fiancé of his daughter, the only person in the room with him when he died. Reporter Bobbie Logan is convinced the case is not as simple as Street believes, and she hires San Francisco's leading private detective James Lee Wong to clear the couple of suspicion by finding the true killer. Complications emerge when evidence of connections between Wentworth, Tong criminal activity, and the mass-murder of 400 passengers onboard one of Wentworth's ships are revealed... and Mr. Wong himself comes under fire from gangsters and killers.

Phantom of Chinatown (1940, 61 min.)
When a famous archeologist and expert in ancient Chinese history is murdered during a lecture on his latest expedition, young Chinese-American and recent Oxford graduate Jimmy Wong teams with homicide detective Bill Street to solve the mystery of his murder. They soon find themselves snared in a web of international intrigue, involving agents of foreign powers, "eternal flames", secret imperial tombs, and dead men appearing to kill from beyond the grave.


* Photo Gallery
* Bonus Serial Chapter: Red Barry (1938) - Chapter 1
* Classic Boris Karloff Movie Trailers
* Classic Cartoons of the Era

Six films on 2 discs.


**VCI** has announced a March 25th release date for two DVDs. Details below:

Jungle Queen (1945) 13 Chapter Serial - Retail: $19.99, Our: $14.99

During World War II, the Nazi High Command sends agents into the African jungle to stir up the local Tongghili tribes against the British Allies. This allows them to plant Commander Elise Bork, posing as a scientist, and her subordinate, Lang, within the Tambosa Experimental Farm. Along with the help of Maati, an evil rival tribesman, they search for the legendary “Secret Sword”, which has mysterious powers. Two Americans, Bob Elliott (Edward Norris) and Chuck Kelly (Eddie Quillan) arrive to aid the Allies and meet Pamela Courtney (Lois Collier), who is looking for her father, an explorer who mysteriously disappeared. Bork and Lang feign friendship with the trio in order to find out what they know, before trying several ways to kill them. Their attempts always fail though, due to the well-timed appearances of Lothel (Ruth Roman), the beautiful and mysterious “Queen of the Jungle”, Tongghili’s spiritual leader. In desperation, the Nazis try to kill Lothel by letting loose wild animals, and setting fire to the jungle. Lothel, however, walks through the flames un-harmed and seems to tame even the wildest beast. And in the end, she helps our heroes end the Nazi terror and return peace to the jungle, before vanishing into a sheet of flame.


* Trailers

Cisco Kid - Western Triple Feature - Retail: $6.99, Our: $5.49

The Daring Adventurer A.K.A. The Cisco Kid Returns (1945, 64 min)
Duncan Renaldo’s first time to play the character that he would forever more be associated with. Cisco assumes the identity of a murdered rancher in order to expose his killer, while also caring for the dead man’s young daughter.

Old New Mexico (1945, 62 min)
In “Old New Mexico” Cisco and Pancho kidnap a damsel-in-distress from a stagecoach in order to save her from a false murder charge and to smoke out the real killers.

The Gay Amigo (1949, 61 min)
Cisco Kid and Pancho are being blamed for a crime that they didn't commit, and must find the real culprits to clear themselves before the cavalry catches up to them.


* Photo Gallery
* Trailers

#2 of 6 OFFLINE   RobertGr


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Posted February 03 2008 - 12:57 AM

I am going to be very careful from now on in my purchases from VCI after being very saddened with the situation with their two discs special edition of A CHRISTMAS CAROL/SCROOGE. The new disc is actually missing a shot that is on the crappy colorized version in the same set!!!!! Now that is only one shot I found missing - I think others mentioned missing shots. The title is probably the closest thng they have to a blockbust A title although it is a classic film.

#3 of 6 OFFLINE   Gunther Toody

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Posted February 03 2008 - 01:11 AM

What shot is missing? Having only watched the spectacularly restored black and white I wouldn't know.

Also, they did a great job with that set all the way around and are a great company for titles that major studios have no interest in. Especially serials.

#4 of 6 OFFLINE   Joe Karlosi

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Posted February 03 2008 - 03:03 AM

This is great news. Even as a Boris Karloff fan, for some reason I've never watched the Wong films. Since I'm watching all the Chans and Mr. Moto films I was recently thinking of acquiring the old Mr. Wong set and now I know I can wait for the VCI release.

#5 of 6 OFFLINE   RobertGr


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Posted February 03 2008 - 06:50 AM

In the restored b/w version - when Scrooge walks into his nephews parlor on Christmas morning there is a shot of Fred's wife as she turns and is suprised to see SCROOGE - she makes a noisey reaction - Fred turns jumps and goes to greet his uncle after he gets up the shot then cuts to SCROOGE asking if he still can accept the dinner invitation. In the colorized and previous b/w releases there is another shot of Fred's wife sitting by herself after Fred leaves the couch to greet his Unlce. It is a minor shot to be sure but to have it in the colorized and older b/w transfers and not in the restored version I think calls for a corrected transfer. To have that missing in the "restored" version is simply unforgivable. Dosn't anyone sit down and watch the master before the thing is shipped to be authored for dvd? And by the way I love VCI's offerings but I have been begging and pleading with them to upgrade their quality. They seem to be trying and the new releases of THE PHANTOM CREEPS, JUNIOR G MEN OF THE AIR etc look miles better than previous release, but then they pull a boner like shots missing from their most famous title in their control!!!! I also think other posters mentioned thing wrong with the release. I would hope VCI would have the moxy to addres the fans on any shots missing from the restored version of SCROOGE!

#6 of 6 OFFLINE   Rodney


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Posted February 03 2008 - 07:31 AM

As one who owns the Roan set I hope someone will be able to do a comparison. Hate to double dip!