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The Castle Of Fu Manchu (1971)

Christopher Lee , Richard Greene , Jesús Franco    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:DVD
The villainous Fu Manchu is back, and he has a nefarious plot to rule the world involving...making ice? Oh geez...
Jesus 'Jess' Franco, Master of the Unnecessary Close Up, not to mention also being the Master of the Useless Zoom In/Zoom Out, and Master of the Pointless Pan Shot, directed this mess of a movie. Christopher Lee reprises his role from the early Blood of Fu Manchu (1968), along with Richard Greene as Denis Nayland-Smith, Howard Marion Crawford as Dr. Petrie, and Tsai Chin as Fu Manchu's daughter, Lin Tang. As sequels go, this one certainly follows the pattern of sequels, not being as good as the original, but given that the first movie wasn't really all that great, the fact that this one was so much worse really surprised me.
Fu Manchu is back and has some kind of process where he can create ice in water...am I blowing your mind? Wait...he demonstrates this early on by creating an iceberg (?!) and sinking a Caribbean ocean liner. The process involves complicated machinery and magic crystals, Pop Rocks, I think...anyway, he kidnaps the scientist who originally developed the process, but the man has a really bad heart, so Fu Manchu also kidnaps a heart specialist to do a transplant. I am not sure why he needed the scientist with the bad heart, the one who created the water freezing process, as Fu Manchu already demonstrated that he had the power to manipulate water, but maybe his process wasn't quite as refined as he would have liked...who knows? The whole movie is filled with moronic plot points like this. Oh yeah, he also takes over a castle in Istanbul, with the aid of a local opium drug lord, who Fu Manchu then betrays because he's so evil.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great DVD (Extras, etc); So-So Film! Oct. 22 2003
Format:DVD
This is the final entry in the Christopher Lee/ Fu Manchu series of films, produced by Harry Alan Towers. This is a wonderful DVD from the fine folks at Blue Underground with some really nice extras, too bad the film isn't as good!
Chris Lee is great as the devil doctor but the story, such as it is, is incredibly stupid. Fu, of course, wants to rule the world and to this end he plots to turn all the world's water to ice. Okay. It is up to the intrepid Nayland Smith (Richard Greene) of Scotland Yard to save the day with the help of his Watson-like sidekick Dr. Petrie (Howard Marion Crawford).
The print of the film looks great and the sound is crystal clear. The film is in anamorphic widescreen and a joy to look at.
It has always been a source of disappointment to me that these films weren't better than they are. Much of the fault must be laid squarely on the producer, Mr. Towers, who wrote all the screenplays under the name of Peter Welbeck. Why he wrote his own stories instead of basing the movies on Sax Rohmer's original novels is a mystery to me. Many of the original novels are quite good with interesting plots and characters. Even the character of Fu Manchu is more complex in the books. For instance, in "PRESIDENT FU MANCHU", Fu (remember he is a doctor), performs an operation on a young boy to save his life. You never see Lee doing anything like that in these films (or Karloff in "MASK OF FU MANCHU", or any of the other screen Fu's). Also, although Fu wants to rule the world in the books, he longs for a peaceful world without war, disease, or poverty. In the 3rd Lee/ Fu film, "VENGEANCE OF FU MANCHU", one character says, "We know of your desire to rule the world, a world of crime". Rule a world of crime? That isn't what Fu wants.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Appalling film, great presentation Oct. 10 2003
Format:DVD
When even Harry Alan Towers admits a film is bad, you know you're in trouble. On the disc's featurette he recalls turning to the amazingly untalented and prolific Jess Franco after seeing the final cut and telling him "You've done something I didn't think was possible: you've killed Fu Manchu." And how...
Badly directed, written, acted, photographed, recorded - heck, I'm willing to bet that even the catering was bad on this one - it's a real ordeal even for the most devoted Fu Manchu fan. If you thought the series couldn't get worse after the astonishing use of black and white stock footage from 'A Night to Remember' in its immediate predecessor 'The Blood of Fu Manchu/Kiss and Kill' (and just to remind you, it's repeated as a pre-title sequence here to pad out the running time), you ain't seen nothin' yet. And not seeing it is probably the best thing to do by far.
But, for Fu Fanatics, the disc is still a must buy, if only for the extras and the presentation. The second of the two-part documentary descends into Jess Franco telling Christopher Lee stories about other films, but the rest of the package is well put together and Blue Underground's transfer is the best the film has probably ever looked (not much of a compliment, it's true). Now, if only they could get their hands on the first three films...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.4 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great DVD (Extras, etc); So-So Film! Oct. 22 2003
By SwellBooks - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This is the final entry in the Christopher Lee/ Fu Manchu series of films, produced by Harry Alan Towers. This is a wonderful DVD from the fine folks at Blue Underground with some really nice extras, too bad the film isn't as good!
Chris Lee is great as the devil doctor but the story, such as it is, is incredibly stupid. Fu, of course, wants to rule the world and to this end he plots to turn all the world's water to ice. Okay. It is up to the intrepid Nayland Smith (Richard Greene) of Scotland Yard to save the day with the help of his Watson-like sidekick Dr. Petrie (Howard Marion Crawford).
The print of the film looks great and the sound is crystal clear. The film is in anamorphic widescreen and a joy to look at.
It has always been a source of disappointment to me that these films weren't better than they are. Much of the fault must be laid squarely on the producer, Mr. Towers, who wrote all the screenplays under the name of Peter Welbeck. Why he wrote his own stories instead of basing the movies on Sax Rohmer's original novels is a mystery to me. Many of the original novels are quite good with interesting plots and characters. Even the character of Fu Manchu is more complex in the books. For instance, in "PRESIDENT FU MANCHU", Fu (remember he is a doctor), performs an operation on a young boy to save his life. You never see Lee doing anything like that in these films (or Karloff in "MASK OF FU MANCHU", or any of the other screen Fu's). Also, although Fu wants to rule the world in the books, he longs for a peaceful world without war, disease, or poverty. In the 3rd Lee/ Fu film, "VENGEANCE OF FU MANCHU", one character says, "We know of your desire to rule the world, a world of crime". Rule a world of crime? That isn't what Fu wants. Didn't Mr. Towers ever read even one of the novels? What a pity! With Lee as Fu and the wonderful Tsai Chin as his daughter, this could have been a great series. As it is, this is a very mediocre series of films with only Lee and Chin to make them mildly interesting.
Having said that, this is sort of a fun film to watch and an improvement over the previous entry, "BLOOD OF FU MANCHU" (also available from Blue Underground). You even get to see director Jess Franco in a small role as a police inspector.
The DVD extras are great. A 13 minute feature with commments from Lee and Chin, director Jess Franco and Mr. Towers. I must address one thing Mr. Towers says about Franco. He blames Franco for the poor quality of these last 2 films saying he "killed off Fu Manchu". I think that is an unfair statement. Franco isn't the greatest director in the world but the poor quality of these films isn't his fault alone. Mr. Towers must take some of the blame for his really lame screenplays. Even Alfred Hitchcock or Stanley Kubrick at the height of their creativity couldn't have breathed life into Mr. Towers lame scripts!
Also included are trailers, poster and photo galleries, some wonderful liner notes by "VIDEO WATCHDOGS" editor, Tim Lucas, info on Sax Rohmer and a bibliography of Fu novels (read some, they are good), and bios of Lee and Franco.
Overall, a nice disc for Lee and/or Franco fans, or anyone who loves that mysterious oriental super-genius, Fu Manchu. -George Bauch
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blue Underground delivers Dec 11 2006
By Pieni Ruusu - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I am very impressed by Blue Underground's presentation of Blood of Fu Manchu and Castle of Fu Manchu. The prints are vastly superior to other versions I've seen and the DVD extras are AWESOME. There are cool menus, a delectable "easter egg", fun domestic and international trailers, poster galleries, still galleries, press material galleries, informative bios, and excellent inteviews with the stars, the director, and the producer. There is also "The Facts of Dr. Fu Manchu" which provides great insight into the evil Fu Manchu and his creator Sax Rohmer. "Facts" is very well done and highly informative. Blue Underground's Fu Manchu DVDs are exquisite.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Evil Christopher Lee Turns Water Into...Ice! April 13 2012
By Robert I. Hedges - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This is the final installment in the late 1960s Fu Manchu films. In a case of definitely not saving the best for last, "The Castle of Fu Manchu" stars Christopher Lee as Fu Manchu in another diabolical plot, this time to take over the world by turning the oceans into ice. Opposing him is his mortal enemy Nayland Smith (Richard Greene.) Also opposing him: the concept and script of this notorious blunder, produced and largely penned (under a pseudonym) by Harry Alan Towers, a name long known to make hardened B-movie connoisseurs run screaming from the room. If that wasn't enough, it's directed by Jess Franco, so you know it will be full of...interesting...camera work and lighting.

The plot is almost indecipherable, and has arduous intertwining themes revolving around crystals, freezing water, the opium trade, general thuggery, a heart surgery of a laughable nature, and blackmail on an international scale. It is tiring and boring trying to keep up with it, and the direction and editing from Franco and company made it a worse mess than it had to be. Perhaps not the best choice to play an Asian supervillain, Lee looks bored throughout and delivers his lines in a deathly dull monotone, while other cast members largely provide workmanlike attempts at their craft, but end up with dismal performances or wild overacting, presumably influenced a great deal by the direction they received. Along with most B-movie fans, my favorite moment in the film is the wholesale lifting of the "Titanic" sinking scene from another movie (in glorious tinted black and white, no less!), and trying to pass it off as an ocean liner being sunk as a demonstration of Fu's evil machinations. Guffaws are guaranteed.

In all truth the movie is the weakest of all the Fu Manchu series, and is borderline unwatchable. Why did I give it two stars, then? First, the Blue Underground print looks excellent, far better than it has in years. Second, the film was spoofed by our friends at "Mystery Science Theater 3000" and is now available in a four DVD set as well. I recommend watching both versions back to back. The MST3K version will seem like paradise in comparison to the original, though the print used is inferior. I thought it fitting that in a new introduction segment to the MST3K version Frank Conniff revealed that they thought this was one of the worst and most unpleasant movies they had ever sat through, and commented brilliantly and extensively about the incoherence of the plot. I couldn't agree with Frank more. I had seen this years ago, but when I heard the MST3K box set was coming out, I knew I had to watch both the uncut DVD and the MST3K version again. For most viewers I would simply say "stay away." For diehard bad movie, horror, Hammer film, and Christopher Lee fans, though, this is a film you may want to see. Or at least feel compelled to watch.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars for cult movie fans only Dec 15 2004
By Gary Sienkiewicz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
The Castle of Fu Manchu is the type of film that will be far more appreciated by cult movie fans than by fans of more mainstream cinema. It's not for everybody. I happen to like these types of things and really enjoyed Castle of Fu Manchu.

Christopher Lee wasn't the best choice for an Asian character but he is Christopher Lee. Jess Franco has his fans and is known for making unusual films with very little money and a lack of a decent script and that's exactly what you get in Castle of Fu Manchu. The script is lame and the whole thing looks extremely cheap and Harry Alan Towers wrote and produced this. He asks us to believe it's all Franco's fault but I agree with one of the other reviewers on here who hit the nail on the head: Towers wrote the ultra-lame script and no matter who directed this it still would have been badly written. The film would have stood a chance if Sax Rohmer's entertaining Fu Manchu novels were used as the basis for the film instead of the script Tower's wrote which falls far short of the mark made by Rohmer. Tower's "produced" this ultra-cheap looking spectacle too.

All of this should let you know that the Castle of Fu Manchu is flawed - but it is also fun. I'm a fan of these types of films and a fan of Lee, Franco, and Towers (even if he tries to place the blame for this one completely on Franco). Blue Underground has done an amazing job with this disc and it includes many fine extras. The film looks better than ever and I had a great time watching this dvd.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Appalling film, great presentation Oct. 10 2003
By Trevor Willsmer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
When even Harry Alan Towers admits a film is bad, you know you're in trouble. On the disc's featurette he recalls turning to the amazingly untalented and prolific Jess Franco after seeing the final cut and telling him "You've done something I didn't think was possible: you've killed Fu Manchu." And how...

Badly directed, written, acted, photographed, recorded - heck, I'm willing to bet that even the catering was bad on this one - it's a real ordeal even for the most devoted Fu Manchu fan. If you thought the series couldn't get worse after the astonishing use of black and white stock footage from 'A Night to Remember,' you ain't seen nothin' yet. And not seeing it is probably the best thing to do by far.

But, for Fu Fanatics, the disc is still a must buy, if only for the extras and the presentation. The second of the two-part documentary descends into Jess Franco telling Christopher Lee stories about other films, but the rest of the package is well put together and Blue Underground's transfer is the best the film has probably ever looked (not much of a compliment, it's true). Now, if only they could get their hands on the first three films...
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