05 October, 2008


Burt Kwouk played a villain in THE BRIDES OF FU MANCHU (1966) who got cut and pasted into Jess Franco's THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU (1969). How's that again?

Burt Kwouk looks like he's mad in the above image... Is he steamed at Jess Franco?

Burt Kwouk as a villain in another mid 1960's cult movie... well, let's just say the image is not from THE BRIDES OF FU MANCHU or THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU.

Having picked up the new Warner Brothers DVD of Don Sharp's THE BRIDES OF FU MANCHU I was amused to see again the "safety lock" scene [that's what I call it] toward the end of the film wherein Fu Manchu (Christoper Lee) and henchman Feno (Burt Kwouk) argue over the "safety maximum" registered on the "Quadrature" gauge reading of the control room. This operation is brought to a climax with Fu Manchu summarily executing his assistant who falls on the safety lock unleashing doom on the innocent. Burt has held his own against Christopher Lee and paid the price...

The elaborately detailed control room complete with all kinds of dials, blinking lights, levers, glowing electrodes, et al may look familiar as does this entire scene. And it is if you've seen Jess Franco's THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU made three years later in Spain for the same producer-writer, Harry Alan Towers. Franco/Towers cut and pasted this entire scene into the opening of CASTLE... intercut with yet more stock footage from Roy Ward Baker's unrelated Titanic epic A NIGHT TO REMEMBER and other films.

They didn't care a damn about continuity or poor Burt Kwouk, best known as Cato of the PINK PANTHER films, who doesn't get billed in CASTLE (I wonder if he even got royalties?). This is all meant as a light hearted interlude and not intended to be taken at all seriously or meant as an accusation against anyone. Both Burt and Jess turned 78 this year and one hopes that Burt is blissfully unaware of the matter. Both films are fun in their own unique way and who cares if THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU pretty much sunk (like the Titanic) the long running film franchise. In any case, my favorite was THE MASK OF FU MANCHU (1932) with Boris Karloff, who nailed Fu Manchu forever. Burt Kwouk went on to a busy, successful career as a popular character actor in numerous films and TV shows.

My review of the new Warner Brothers DVD is on my cinemadrome site www.cinemadrome.yuku.com or just click on the link at the top of the sidebar at far left.

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