Friday, September 14, 2018

Shadows of the Orient (1935)

A rather insipid tale of people smuggling and organised crime. The gangs are smuggling in Chinese people over the border in biplanes - though if challenged by the air force then the pilot just drops the poor people to their deaths!

After that horror we then switch to Chinatown where the Judge's daughter Viola (Esther Ralston) gets caught up in a raid on a gambling den linked to the smugglers. Viola is seduced by the gang boss King Moss (Sidney Blackmer) and ends up getting drawn into the whole sordid plot. The police led by Inspector Baxter (Regis Toomey) and his older sidekick J. Farrell MacDonald are on the case though...

Not the best of films and rather dated in various ways especially with some of the jarring stereotypes, but it is not without some charms, the interplay between Toomey and MacDonald is quite amusing. While some of the story is rather grim the main cast do make the most of it. The police investigation scenes are fast moving and slick, though the film is weighed down a bit by a fair bit of padding. There are some pretty nifty aerial scenes to raise the film above the mundane.