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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Fatal Hour (1940)

Monogram Pictures produced and released a series of low budget films from 1931 to 1953, some of which were thrillers like The Fatal Hour. This film is the fourth in Boris Karloff's Mr. Wong series where he plays a street smart detective. Karloff is good in this film but it is hardly a stand out performance. Still it's worth seeing if your a fan of his work.

The basic story is the murder of a police captain's best friend and Mr. Wong is brought in to solve it, which he naturally does! This is a buy-the-book thriller that is quite common for the time period. My favorite performance in this film is not Karloff's but Marjorie Reynolds who plays the sassy and determined reporter Bobbie Logan. Her energy on screen is wonderful and is a joy to watch.

Director William Nigh [Black Dragons, The Ape] keeps the action humming along at a nice pace with some good dramatic moments. The screenplay by George Waggner [best knows as the director of The Wolf Man] is solid and gives the actors decent material to work with.

The one thing that is definitely missing is a soundtrack. This movie is absolutely silent in most places with dialogue being the only thing we hear. It makes you appreciate how much a good soundtrack can add to the emotion of a film.

The Fatal Hour is not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but it's not bad either. It's definitely a film of its time so if you like that kind of thing you just might enjoy it. 

You can download a copy for free from Archive.org and there is an HD version on YouTube if you follow the video below.


For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.


  1. do you know the budget for the film? Is it a bit higher with Karloff being involved?

  2. I'm not sure about that one. Usually IMDB has it listed but I couldn't find how much they spent. Monogram never spent a lot on their films.