Doomed to Die

Last updated
Doomed to Die
DVD cover
Directed by William Nigh
Written by Hugh Wiley
Ralph Gilbert Bettison
Michael Jacoby
Produced by Paul Malvern
Scott R. Dunlap
Starring Boris Karloff
Marjorie Reynolds
Grant Withers
Cinematography Harry Neumann
Edited by Robert Golden
Music by Edward J. Kay
Color process Black and white
Distributed by Monogram Pictures Corporation
Release date
  • August 12, 1940 (1940-08-12)
Running time
68 minutes
CountryUnited States
Doomed to Die (1940), Boris Karloff seated. Standing L-R, Marjorie Reynolds, Gibson Gowland, Grant Withers Doomed to Die (1940) 1.jpg
Doomed to Die (1940), Boris Karloff seated. Standing L-R, Marjorie Reynolds, Gibson Gowland, Grant Withers

Doomed to Die is a 1940 American mystery film directed by William Nigh and starring Boris Karloff as Mr. Wong with Marjorie Reynolds and Grant Withers. It is a sequel to the 1940 film, The Fatal Hour , [1] which also featured Withers and Reynolds.



When the head of a shipping company is murdered in his office the identity of the killer seems obvious. The killer is the son of the owner of a rival shipping company; the reason is the Romeo and Juliet romance between the killer and the murdered man's daughter. They wanted to get married. The murdered man refused to give them his permission.

The murdered man's daughter asks Mr. Wong to investigate. She hopes that Wong will be able to prove that her fiancé didn't kill her father.

The killing took place a few days after the Wentworth Castle, one of the company's liners, caught fire and sank with the loss of more than 400 lives. Once again, Wong is given important information by the leader of a powerful tong (Chinese secret society) that leads him to other suspects. The tong leader tells Wong that a member of the tong was smuggling a great amount of tong money into the United States aboard the Wentworth Castle. The smuggler is known to have survived the sinking but disappeared with the tong's money.

Wong uses modern (for 1940) technology to recover seemingly "lost" evidence. He uncovers multiple conspiracies within the shipping company and succeeds in proving that the fiancé is not the murderer.



Filming began in mid June. The film uses actual news footage from the burning of the liner SS Morro Castle, which caught fire on September 8, 1934 during a trip from Havana to New York City. [2]

Related Research Articles

Boris Karloff English actor

William Henry Pratt, better known by his stage name Boris Karloff, was an English actor who starred as Frankenstein's monster in the horror film Frankenstein (1931), which established him as a horror icon. He reprised the role in Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and Son of Frankenstein (1939). Karloff also appeared as Imhotep in The Mummy (1932), and voiced the Grinch, as well as narrated the animated television special of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966), which won him a Grammy Award.

Marjorie Reynolds American actress

Marjorie Reynolds was an American film/television actress and dancer, who appeared in more than 50 films, including the 1942 musical Holiday Inn, in which she and Bing Crosby introduced the song "White Christmas" in a duet, albeit with her singing dubbed.

Mae Clarke American actress (1910–1992)

Mae Clarke was an American actress. She is widely remembered for playing Henry Frankenstein's bride Elizabeth, who is chased by Boris Karloff in Frankenstein, and for being on the receiving end of James Cagney's halved grapefruit in The Public Enemy. Both films were released in 1931.

<i>House of Frankenstein</i> (film) 1944 film

House of Frankenstein is a 1944 American horror film starring Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr. and John Carradine. The film was directed by Erle C. Kenton based on a story by Curt Siodmak, and produced by Universal Pictures. The film is about Dr. Gustav Niemann who escapes from prison and promises to create a new body for his assistant Daniel. The two murder Professor Lampini and take over his sideshow that involves the corpse of Count Dracula. After disposing of the Count, the two move on to the ruins of Castle Frankenstein where they find the body of Frankenstein's monster and Larry Talbot, the Wolf Man preserved in the castle. Niemann thaws them and promises to cure Talbot of his werewolf curse, but secretly plots to revive Frankenstein's monster instead.

Grant Withers American actor (1905–1959)

Granville Gustavus Withers was an American film actor who acted under the screen name Grant Withers. With early beginnings in the silent era, Withers moved into sound films, establishing himself with a list of headlined features as a young and handsome male lead. "As his career progressed ... his importance diminished, but he did manage a 10-year contract with Republic."

<i>The Fatal Hour</i> (1940 film) 1940 film by William Nigh

The Fatal Hour is a 1940 American thriller crime drama film directed by William Nigh and starring Boris Karloff, Grant Withers, and Marjorie Reynolds.

<i>Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff</i> 1949 horror comedy film directed by Charles Barton

Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff is a 1949 horror comedy film directed by Charles Barton and starring Abbott and Costello and Boris Karloff.

<i>Lured</i> 1947 film by Douglas Sirk

Lured is a 1947 film noir directed by Douglas Sirk and starring George Sanders, Lucille Ball, Charles Coburn, and Boris Karloff. The film is a remake of Robert Siodmak's 1939 French film Pièges.

<i>The Black Room</i> (1935 film) 1935 film by Roy William Neill

The Black Room is a 1935 American horror film directed by Roy William Neill and starring Boris Karloff. Cinematography was done by Allen G. Siegler.

<i>The Black Castle</i> 1952 film by Nathan H. Juran

The Black Castle is a 1952 American horror film directed by Nathan H. Juran and starring Richard Greene, Boris Karloff, Stephen McNally, Rita Corday and Lon Chaney Jr. It was produced by William Alland. The film was made in the United States but premiered in Sweden.

<i>Phantom of Chinatown</i> 1940 American film

Phantom of Chinatown is a 1940 American mystery film directed by Phil Rosen starring Keye Luke. This is the last of the Mr. Wong films and the only one to star Luke in the role originated by Boris Karloff.

<i>Charlie Chan at the Opera</i> 1936 film by H. Bruce Humberstone

Charlie Chan at the Opera is considered by many to be the best Warner Oland Charlie Chan film, probably due to the presence of Boris Karloff as the principal suspect, as well as faux operatic music composed by Oscar Levant. This is the 13th film starring Oland as Chan; it was directed by H. Bruce Humberstone for 20th Century-Fox in 1936.

<i>The Boogie Man Will Get You</i> 1942 film by Lew Landers

The Boogie Man Will Get You is a 1942 American comedy horror film directed by Lew Landers and starring Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre. It was the final film Karloff made under his contract with Columbia Pictures, and it was filmed in the wake of his success in the 1941 Broadway production Arsenic and Old Lace. As he had done several times previously, Karloff played the part of a "mad scientist", Professor Billings, who is using the basement of his inn to conduct experiments using electricity to create a race of superhumans. The inn is bought by a new owner, who is initially unaware of the work Billings is conducting.

<i>His Majesty, the American</i> 1919 film

His Majesty, the American is a 1919 American silent comedy film directed by Joseph Henabery and starring Douglas Fairbanks. It was the first film produced by United Artists. It was released in the U.K. as One of the Blood. Prints exist in the film holdings of Cohen Media Group [a 35mm positive]; in the film holdings of EmGee Film Library [a 16mm reduction positive]; and in private film collections [a 16mm reduction positives].

<i>Mr. Wong, Detective</i> 1938 film by William Nigh

Mr. Wong, Detective is a 1938 American crime film directed by William Nigh and starring Boris Karloff in his first appearance as Mr. Wong.

<i>The Mystery of Mr. Wong</i> 1939 film

The Mystery of Mr. Wong is a 1939 American mystery film directed by William Nigh and starring Boris Karloff.

<i>Mr. Wong in Chinatown</i> 1939 film

Mr. Wong in Chinatown is a 1939 American mystery film directed by William Nigh and starring Boris Karloff as Mr. Wong.

<i>The Rogues Tavern</i> 1936 film by Robert F. Hill

The Rogues' Tavern is a 1936 American murder mystery film directed by Robert F. Hill and starring Wallace Ford, Barbara Pepper, and Joan Woodbury. The film was produced by Mercury Pictures, and released by Puritan Pictureon June 4, 1936.

James Lee Wong, known simply as Mr. Wong, is a fictional Chinese-American detective created by Hugh Wiley (1884–1968). Mr. Wong appeared in twenty magazine stories and a film series of six, the first five of which starred English actor Boris Karloff as Wong, the last with Chinese-American actor Keye Luke in the role, the first Asian lead.

<i>Bloody Brotherhood</i> 1989 Hong Kong action film directed by Wang Lung-wei

Bloody Brotherhood is a 1989 Hong Kong action film directed by Wang Lung-wei and starring Andy Lau and Irene Wan.


  1. Stephen Jacobs, Boris Karloff: More Than a Monster, Tomahawk Press 2011 p 259-260
  2. Internet Movie Database Trivia