Friday, March 29, 2013

On DVD: Doomed To Die (1940)

Boris Karloff makes his final go-round as detective James Lee Wong in 1940's "Doomed to Die". As with the rest of the films in the series, this flies by very quickly.

The owner of a steamship company is in dire straits after one of his ships goes down in flames. After a dispute with a prospective son-in-law, whose father is waiting in the next room, a shot is fired, the mogul is dead, the son-in-law-to-be is framed for the crime, and, well, you know the drill, don't you?

It's a shame that Karloff, toward the end of his career, never got the chance to play another detective role, the kind of veteran sleuth that would be embodied by the likes of Buddy Ebsen (Barnaby Jones), Angela Lansbury (Murder, She Wrote), and Dick Van Dyke (Diagnosis: Murder) in later years. As I've written before, Karloff demonstrated that he was a lot more versatile as an actor than most give him credit for. The final film in the Mr. Wong series was a prequel with Keye Luke in the lead, and we covered that sometime back. Rating: A-.


reprobates said...

Well, Boris Karloff did get to play another Detective later in his career, check out the British TV series COLONEL MARCH OF SCOTLAND YARD on Youtube which he did in the mid-1950's


hobbyfan said...

Ah, yes, in his native England, but not on American TV. In fact, his only US series was the anthology "Thriller", in which he hosted and often acted. I covered that recently. I believe Col. March is also on DVD, is it not?

Thank you, Richard.

reprobates said...

Actually, COLONEL MARCH OF SCOTLAND YARD was syndicated on American TV in the late 50's by Official Films, and Karloff also had another Anthology series on American Television: STARRING BORIS KARLOFF, which broadcast live on ABC for thirteen weeks in 1949. He also did ten episodes of another Anthology series, THE VEIL, shot in 1958 at the Hal Roach Studios, which were never broadcast, but did turn up in the Medallion Television Syndication Package of movies in the early 70's as three Anthology features: THE VEIL, DESTINATION NIGHTMARE, and JACK THE RIPPER.

Boris also hosted one more Anthology series for the BBC, OUT OF THIS WORLD in 1961-62. Of course, on radio, Boris had his long-running syndicated radio show, TALES FROM THE READERS DIGEST, which he recorded from the late 50's until nearly the day he died in early 1969.

I do not believe there is a DVD collection of the entire COLONEL MARCH series available, at least not a legit release.


hobbyfan said...

Hmmmm, I think I have read of Col. March under the Official Films banner. I'd not be surprised to find a DVD in public domain. Veil I know about, because I bought a DVD set for my brother a while back.

Again, thanks for your help.