Tales of Old Chinatown
Chinatown is as much an idea as a place. In the early 20th century British films imagined their own Chinatown, defined by mystery, fear and the exotic.
The most famous screen Chinatown is probably the Los Angeles setting of Roman Polanski's 1974 classic, but British filmmakers have long offered up their own Chinatown. This mythic place drew on early-20th Century moral panics, forged in 19th-century opium wars and the 1900 Boxer uprising. It had little connection to the real Chinese-British people who made their homes in London's East End, Birmingham, Liverpool or Aberdeen. This screen Chinatown was exoticised, romanticised and coloured by imagined associations with vice and intrigue. It took shape in Sax Rohmer's lurid tales of the fiendish Dr Fu-Manchu - incarnated in his own mid-1920s film serial, and in the near-identical character of Dr Sin Fang, played by the same white actor). Other films, like the sensationalist Cocaine (1922), situate Chinese characters in a shadowy world of vice and drugs. Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong was allowed more complex roles, even if her characters remained tragic outsiders, shut out of British society. In the end, these tales reveal less about Chinese people in Britain than about a largely uncomprehending British culture, transfixed by ideas of mystical oriental 'Otherness'. Even so, these little-known films add up to a fascinating record of a nation taking its first faltering steps towards multiculturalism.
A young woman is persuaded to help a Chinese businessman to kidnap a naval officer in this fun and outrageous British thriller.
War19001 minsSilent Location: Blackburn
Dramatised account of Chinese rebels' violent confrontation with Christian missionaries, made in the wake of the Boxer Rebellion.
Interest film192410 mins Location: Soho
An extraordinary tour of Soho's French cafés, Clerkenwell's Little Italy and the lesser-trodden streets of Limehouse in the 1920s.
Drama191012 minsSilent Location: Croydon
Lieutenant Rose is kidnapped by Chinese pirates in this action-packed early adventure series.
Comedy191311 minsSilent Location: Walton-on-Thames
The intrepid Lt Lilly is called upon to quell a Chinese Boxer rebellion in a spoof adventure serial.
Attack on a China Mission - Bluejackets to the RescueAttack on a China Mission - Bluejackets to the Rescue
War19001 minsSilent Location: Brighton
Fictional treatment of a contemporary atrocity story from the 1900 Boxer rebellion in China.
The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu
In one of his most fiendish schemes yet, the dastardly Dr Fu-Manchu entombs his pursuers in an underground chamber full of deadly giant mould spores
When evil Dr Fu-Manchu is thought dead, his murderous secret Si-Fan society continues its awful work, using the dreaded Flower of Silence!
A mysterious murder sets Nayland Smith and Petrie once again on the trail of villainous Fu-Manchu, and seeking a strange old stick with magical powers
In the dastardly clutches of evil Dr Fu-Manchu, Nayland Smith and Petrie are threatened with pythons, spiders and the ghastly ‘wire jacket’ torture
Intrepid sleuths Nayland Smith and Dr Petrie investigate the baffling murder of a disguised detective. Could devilish Dr Fu-Manchu be responsible?
A deadly cat with poisoned claws, meant for super sleuth Nayland Smith, is hurled from a tree. Could that master of evil Dr Fu-Manchu be responsible?
Detective Nayland Smith takes hold of evil Fu-Manchu's coveted Tulum Nur Chest, only to discover it's been booby-trapped..
Things go bump in the night in this eerie episode of the Fu-Manchu series: will intrepid sleuths Nayland Smith and Petrie make it out alive?
Evil Dr Fu-Manchu visits London's historic waxworks, while a country cottage is plagued by odd knocking, awful groans and fiendish laughter...
Kidnapped and forced to perform a delicate operation on the Devil Doctor, sleuth Petrie’s ultimate fate is decided on the turn of a playing card...
When sleuth Nayland Smith steals evil Dr Fu-Manchu's 'Sacred Order', the Devil Doctor himself faces death at the hands of the Si-Fan organisation.
In this thrilling final episode, evil Fu-Manchu's pet marmoset leads sleuth Petrie to a secret Si-Fan ceremony. Is the Devil Doctor's game now up?
Action and Adventure192830 minsSilent Location: Limehouse
An evil criminal doctor entraps and tortures a greedy trader in this only surviving episode of silent adventure serial Dr Sin Fang.