Karloff and the East

Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern and Oceanian Characters and Subjects in His Screen Career

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About the Book

Among Golden Age Hollywood film stars of European heritage known for playing characters from the East–Chinese, Southeast Asians, Indians and Middle Easterners–Anglo-Indian actor Boris Karloff had deep roots there. Based on extensive new research, this biography and career study of Karloff’s “eastern” films provides a critical examination of 41 features, including many overlooked early roles, and offers fresh perspective on a cinematic luminary so often labeled a “horror icon.” Films include The Lightning Raider (1919), 14 silent films from the 1920s, The Unholy Night (1929), The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932), The Mummy (1932), John Ford’s The Lost Patrol (1934), the Mr. Wong series (1938-1940), Targets (1968), and Isle of the Snake People (1971), one of six titles released posthumously.

About the Author(s)

Scott Allen Nollen was educated in film and history at the University of Iowa. He has written and edited more than 40 books on the history of film, literature and music.

Researcher Yuyun Yuningsih Nollen, a native of Java, served as special “Eastern adviser” on this project.

Bibliographic Details

Scott Allen Nollen with Yuyun Yuningsih Nollen
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 484
Bibliographic Info: 130 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8063-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4086-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction: The King and I 1
1. Eastern Origins 9
2. Young “Boris” Goes West 14
3. The Lightning Raider (1919) 16
4. The Hope Diamond Mystery (1921) 27
5. Without Benefit of Clergy (1921) 39
6. Cheated Hearts (1921) 47
7. The Man from Downing Street (1922) 49
8. The Infidel (1922) 52
9. The Altar Stairs (1922) 55
10. Omar the Tentmaker (1922) 58
11. The White Panther (1924) 64
12. Perils of the Wild (1925) 68
13. Never the Twain Shall Meet (1925) 73
14. Old Ironsides (1926) 77
15. Soft Cushions (1927) 84
16. Two Arabian Knights (1927) 88
17. Sharp Shooters (1928) 94
18. Behind That Curtain (1929) 98
19. The Unholy Night (1929) 104
20. King of the Wild (1931) 111
21. Business and Pleasure (1932) 120
22. The Miracle Man (1932) 123
23. The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932) 133
24. The Mummy (1932) 141
25. The Ghoul (1933) 152
26. The Lost Patrol (1934) 164
27. Juggernaut (1936) 182
28. Charlie Chan at the Opera (1936) 190
29. West of Shanghai (1937) 199
30. Mr. Wong, Detective (1938) 210
31. The Mystery of Mr. Wong (1939) 216
32. Mr. Wong in Chinatown (1939) 221
33. The Fatal Hour (1940) 228
34. Doomed to Die (1940) 232
35. You’ll Find Out (1940) 237
36. Touring Oceania (1945) 250
37. The Emperor’s Nightingale (1949) 257
38. Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff (1949) 262
39. The Hindu (1954) 269
40. Voodoo Island (1957) 287
41. The Daydreamer (1966) 312
42. Targets (1968) 319
43. La muerte viviente [Isle of the Snake People] (1968) 326
Appendix A: Filmography 335
Appendix B: Television Programs 384
Appendix C: Radio Programs 422
Appendix D: Record Albums 431
Appendix E: Stage Performances 435
Appendix F: Writings 439
Appendix G: Proposed Films and Roles 440
Chapter Notes 445
Bibliography 453
Index 459