Friday, July 22, 2011

The Brides of Fu Manchu

The Fu Manchu film series of the sixties is, indeed, a strange bird. Based on a classic--and not yet politically incorrect--literary character he series is at once a vehicle for Hammer star Christopher Lee (in spite of his miscasting) and also an attempt at cashing in on James Bond, Dracula and Sherlock Holmes films. They don't really work but 1966's THE BRIDES OF FU MANCHU is generally considered the best of the lot.
Lee portrays the definitive "Yellow Peril" villain, a sadistic, immortal Chinese megalomaniac. One problem with several of the five films is that he doesn't really appear that often, much like his Dracula in some of the Hammer pictures. Douglas Wilmer plays the hero here, Fu's arch-enemy, Sir Denis Nayland Smith. To give you an idea how little he was respected, they misspell his name on the film's poster!

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