The Fatal Hour (1940)

68 mins | Drama | 15 January 1940

Full page view
HISTORY

The working title for this film was Mr. Wong at Headquarters . For more information on the series, see the entry for Mr. Wong, Detective (below) and consult the Series ... More Less

The working title for this film was Mr. Wong at Headquarters . For more information on the series, see the entry for Mr. Wong, Detective (below) and consult the Series Index. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
24 Jan 40
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Nov 39
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Dec 39
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald
30 Dec 39
p. 53.
Motion Picture Herald
20 Jan 40
p. 46.
New York Times
13 Jan 40
p. 11.
Variety
17 Jan 40
p. 24.
DETAILS
Series:
Alternate Title:
Mr. Wong at Headquarters
Release Date:
15 January 1940
Production Date:
began 28 November 1939
Copyright Claimant:
Monogram Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
10 January 1940
Copyright Number:
LP9350
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
68
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5984
SYNOPSIS

When Detective Dan Grady is murdered while on smuggling detail in Chinatown, his friend Bill Street, captain of homicide, investigates with James Lee Wong, "the Chinese copper." Wong finds a rare jade figurine in Dan's desk and visits Chinatown jeweler Belden, who specializes in Oriental imitations. With the help of female reporter Bobbie Logan, Street locates a witness who saw Dan in the Club Neptune the night he was murdered. The club is run by crooked gambler "Hardway Harry" Lockett, who is part of Belden's smuggling ring. Lockett's moll, Tanya Sarova, wants out of the smuggling ring in order to marry Belden's innocent son Frank. When Belden learns of his son's plans to marry, he threatens to talk if Lockett has Frank killed. That night, Belden is killed in his store, which Wong realizes is filled with smuggled jade. Tanya is then found dead, and Frank is arrested on suspicion of murder. The next morning, Street calls all the suspects to his office, and Frank insists that Tanya was dead when he arrived at her apartment and that the radio had been on. During the interrogation, Griswold, the writer of a mystery radio play which Belden sponsored at the request of his financial adviser, Mr. Forbes, is murdered in Street's office. Wong discovers that the play was aired at the exact time Tanya was murdered and contains a gunshot fired at exactly the time a switchboard operator heard one over the phone. A ballistics report then reveals that Tanya, Belden and Dan were all killed with the same gun. Wong goes to Tanya's apartment and finds Forbes, whom he now knows ... +


When Detective Dan Grady is murdered while on smuggling detail in Chinatown, his friend Bill Street, captain of homicide, investigates with James Lee Wong, "the Chinese copper." Wong finds a rare jade figurine in Dan's desk and visits Chinatown jeweler Belden, who specializes in Oriental imitations. With the help of female reporter Bobbie Logan, Street locates a witness who saw Dan in the Club Neptune the night he was murdered. The club is run by crooked gambler "Hardway Harry" Lockett, who is part of Belden's smuggling ring. Lockett's moll, Tanya Sarova, wants out of the smuggling ring in order to marry Belden's innocent son Frank. When Belden learns of his son's plans to marry, he threatens to talk if Lockett has Frank killed. That night, Belden is killed in his store, which Wong realizes is filled with smuggled jade. Tanya is then found dead, and Frank is arrested on suspicion of murder. The next morning, Street calls all the suspects to his office, and Frank insists that Tanya was dead when he arrived at her apartment and that the radio had been on. During the interrogation, Griswold, the writer of a mystery radio play which Belden sponsored at the request of his financial adviser, Mr. Forbes, is murdered in Street's office. Wong discovers that the play was aired at the exact time Tanya was murdered and contains a gunshot fired at exactly the time a switchboard operator heard one over the phone. A ballistics report then reveals that Tanya, Belden and Dan were all killed with the same gun. Wong goes to Tanya's apartment and finds Forbes, whom he now knows killed Tanya because she was leaving him for Frank. Forbes had rigged a cord to unhook Tanya's phone so the operator could hear the shot on the radio and place the murder during Frank's visit. Forbes now pulls a gun on Wong, who is saved by Bobbie, and Street arrests the killer. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.