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Mainstream - Doomed To Die

Amazon page
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Doomed To Die - MGM Limited Edition Collection
Boris Karloff, Marjorie Reynolds
Directed by William Nigh
Fullscreen Black and White
Originally released 1940
MGM 2011 68 minutes

Doomed To Die would prove to be the last time Boris Karloff played detective James Lee Wong. If you like B-movie mysteries, this one is entertaining enough. This MGM Limited Edition on demand DVD uses an decent, unrestored print that shows its age but is better than public domain releases out there..

A shipping magnate is shot and killed. Police captain Street is quick to arrest Dick Fleming. Fleming wanted to marry the magnate’s daughter and both men were heard arguing. Ace reporter Bobbie Logan (Marjorie Reynolds, Holiday Inn) thinks Street is jumping to conclusions and hires detective James Lee Wong (Boris Karloff) to prove Fleming innocent.

Wong is a pale copy of Charlie Chan and does not rise above that. Doomed To Die’s strong point is the love hate relationship between Bobbie Logan and Captain Street. They have quite a few zingers for each other and keep an eye on the feather in Logan’s hat.

A glaring mistake that shows this was a really low budget production is a secondary character is played by both a young and much older actor within the same scene.

The solve is rather abrupt and quickly tossed by the viewer who has to buy the ending whole cloth.

Doomed to Die is far from a classic mystery movie but fans of the genre will enjoy it.

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