The Fatal Hour (1940 film)

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The Fatal Hour
Theatrical release poster
Directed by William Nigh
Written byHugh Wiley
Scott Darling
George Waggner
Produced by Scott R. Dunlap
William T. Lackey
Starring Boris Karloff
Grant Withers
Marjorie Reynolds
Cinematography Harry Neumann
Edited byRussell F. Schoengarth
Music by Edward J. Kay
Distributed by Monogram Pictures Corporation
Release date
  • January 15, 1940 (1940-01-15)
Running time
68 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Fatal Hour is a 1940 American thriller crime drama film directed by William Nigh and starring Boris Karloff (as James Lee Wong), Grant Withers, and Marjorie Reynolds. [1]


The film is also known as Mr. Wong at Headquarters in the United Kingdom. The picture was followed by the sequel Doomed to Die , which also stars Karloff, Reynolds and Withers.


The body of policeman Dan Grady is rescued in the San Francisco Bay lifeless and with clear indications of an execution. His good friend Captain Street, very touched by the tragedy, asks for the help of Mr. Wong and the journalist Bobbie Logan to solve the mystery. Dan was carrying out an investigation into gemstone smuggling, and the investigation leads to suspicion of jeweler Frank Belden's shop. A witness appears who saw Dan at 8.30 pm the night before at the Neptune club, a disreputable place run by Harry Lockett, a well-known cheater, con man and smuggler. The investigations will lead to the discovery of a ring of precious stone trafficking that revolved around the Neptune, in which both the owner and Frank Belden himself, and the vamp Tanya Serova were involved. Slowly, however, all the members of the gang end up killed, and the blame seems to fall on the young Frank Belden jr. son of the jeweler and boyfriend of Serova. It will be Wong himself who will discover the cunning ploy devised by the real culprit to frame the young man, so the head of the gang, the lawyer John T. Forbes, is arrested by Captain Street thanks to the decisive collaboration of Miss Logan.


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  1. Stephen Jacobs, Boris Karloff: More Than a Monster, Tomahawk Press 2011 p 254