» » The Secrets of Wu Sin (1932)

Short summary

Newspaper editor Jim Manning prevents a destitute young writer from committing suicide and gives her a job on his paper. When Manning gives a hot story assignment to reporter Eddie Morgan, the girl, Mona Gould, decides to investigate the story herself. At issue is the smuggling of illegal Chinese workers into America by ship. Mona discovers that a trading impresario, Wu Sin, is involved, as is a very wealthy man whose daughter is engaged to Jim Manning. Wu Sin blackmails a young man, Charlie San, into murdering Mona when he learns of her discoveries. But Charlie, whose girlfriend Miao Lin is Mona's friend, is a good man and his heart is not in the effort. Can Charlie carry out his orders, and will Mona expose the criminals before he does?

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Fiarynara
    This is one of those little independent films made by Invincible Pictures at Universal Studios. This is copyrighted 1933, NOT '32. Chesterfield distributed it. It's about the Chinese labor smuggling racket. Grant Withers plays a newspaper editor who, while investigating the racket on his own, by happenstance runs across Lois Wilson, who is a failed writer about to commit suicide. He saves her, gives her a job as a reporter, and she tries to repay him by investigating the dangerous racket on her own. Her competition for the story is loudmouth fellow reporter Hal Price (the wan comic relief). The title character with the secrets is a leader in the smuggling racket. Add in the incredible coincidence that Wu Sin's partner is none other than Withers' fiancée' father (Robert Warrick), and you've got plenty of claptrap to follow. Famous Chinese actor Richard Loo is quite young and thin here, and plays a good guy. Overall, quite predictable, and loaded with bad acting and crummy dialogue. Revier (who plays Withers' fiancée) played a unlikeable character in Richard Thorpe's 'The King Murder' the year before.
  • comment
    • Author: Marad
    Newspaper editor Grant Withers wants to know who's been bringing in illegal Chinese and how. He assigns two reporters to the story: Lois Wilson and an uncredited Eddie Boland. How does Tetsu Komai figure in the puzzle, and the young Chinese lovers, Toshia Mori and Richard Loo?

    With a plot issue that seems very modern 87 years later -- half the news and three quarters of the commentary in the news is about illegal aliens - this very much remains a B movie from 1932. Kudos are due director Richard Thorpe and producer George Batcheller for casting actors of East Asian descent in the appropriate roles, but their line readings are not very good, and there's a lot of stuff about tradition and the Tongs here.

    Even so, in 1932, Poverty Row producers could get talent on the cheap, and with Robert Warrick, D.W. Griffith stock company member Wilfred Lucas, Spec O'Donnel and Lafe McKee in the cast, there's a lot of fun for folks like me who try to spot old actors.
  • comment
    • Author: Faell
    Surprisingly much better than I expected, this expose of Chinese mob rule is filled with the typical clichés, often considered offensive today, yet well told in a dramatic story of tradition and honor not quite mixing together. Lois Wilson is a young writer, allegedly on the verge of suicide, who is rescued by newspaper editor Grant Withers and desperately seeks to become a decent reporter and get off the "sob sister" columns. She decides to take on the Tong, involved in an illegal immigrant smuggling racket, and what she finds leads her to bigger fish to fry.

    A secondary story has the head of the local Tong blackmailing his daughter's noble suitor into committing murder to get his approval, and this leads to danger for both Wilson and Withers whose fiancée (Dorothy Revier) somehow hits into all of this. It's a lot of plot for an hour long film, and impressively wrapped up with minimal clichés and only a few offensive moments. Coming in the year of MGM's "The Mask of Fun Manchu", Warner Brother's "The Hatchet Man", RKO's " Thirteen Women", and coming off the trail of Paramount's own "Fu Manchu", this poverty row entry is surprisingly the best of the bunch.
  • Cast overview:
    Lois Wilson Lois Wilson - Nona Gould
    Grant Withers Grant Withers - James Manning
    Dorothy Revier Dorothy Revier - Margaret King
    Robert Warwick Robert Warwick - Roger King
    Tetsu Komai Tetsu Komai - Wu Sin
    Toshia Mori Toshia Mori - Miao Lin
    Richard Loo Richard Loo - Charlie San
    Luke Chan Luke Chan - Luke
    James Wang James Wang - Pete (as Wang)
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