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The Terror of the Tongs (1961)

Not Rated | | Action, Adventure | 15 March 1961 (USA)
Trailer
2:30 | Trailer
In 1910, Hong Kong members of a secret Tong crime syndicate protect their identities by murdering the daughter of a British sea captain who vows revenge.

Director:

Anthony Bushell

Writer:

Jimmy Sangster
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Christopher Lee ... Chung King
Yvonne Monlaur ... Lee
Geoffrey Toone ... Capt. Jackson Sale
Marne Maitland ... Beggar
Brian Worth Brian Worth ... District Commissioner Harcourt
Ewen Solon ... Tang How - Tong Leader's Aide
Roger Delgado ... Tang Hao - Tong Enforcer
Richard Leech ... Insp. Bob Dean
Charles Lloyd Pack Charles Lloyd Pack ... Dr. Fu Chao - Tong Member
Marie Burke ... Maya
Barbara Brown Barbara Brown ... Helena Sale
Burt Kwouk ... Mr. Ming
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Storyline

A secret society of Hong-Kong at the beginning of the century called "The Red Dragon Tong" kidnaps the captain of a ship in the harbour of Hong-Kong as he tries to detain the killers of his daughter. Because the secret society is very powerful it is not easy to free him from their hands. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE MAN MARKED FOR VIOLENT MURDER BY THE TONGS! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Action | Adventure

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The bone scraping scene wasn't in the first draft of the script. See more »

Goofs

The film is set in 1910, but the knee length female costumes, revealingly slit to the hip, are strictly 1960 Suzie Wong. See more »

Quotes

Tang How - Tong Leader's Aide: Why is it these Occidentals indulge their vices the same way they run their lives, full of noise and vulgarity?
The Tong Leader: It's fortunate that they should choose to indulge in these vices. It gives us the opportunity to gratify them.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: HONG KONG - 1910

A bustling, growing city - but hidden deep amongst its teeming thousands was an organisation that thrived on vice, terror and corruption- THE RED DRAGON TONG See more »

Alternate Versions

The film suffered extensive BBFC cuts which removed shots of bloody bodies and a mutilated hand, and also heavily edited the infamous 'bone scraping' scene where Jackson Sale's chest is pricked with needles. A scene featuring Helena's fingers being severed with an axe was also re-edited, so it appears she passes out before the impact of the blade. All later releases have featured the same print and the uncut version may no longer survive. See more »

User Reviews

 
Decent little Hammer rarity
22 November 2006 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

Terror of the Tongs is a largely unknown Hammer film and, as such, isn't one the great studio's best films. It is, however, a more than decent entry in Hammer's oeuvre, and is well worth seeking out for Hammer fans. The film takes place in Hong Kong, and director Anthony Bushell does a fairly good job of capitalising on the mystery of the eastern culture. The most prominent thing about this film is no doubt the fact that it stars the great Christopher Lee - as the Chinese head of 'The Tongs'! It's a hilarious performance, and while Lee doesn't exactly convince the audience that he's Chinese, it brilliantly shows off his charisma and ability to hold the audience's attention. The plot focuses on a secret Hong Kong society known as 'The Red Dragon Tong'. They kidnap the captain of a ship in Hong Kong harbour while he's trying to restrain the people who kidnapped his daughter. We then follow the attempt to free him from the Tong; but this isn't a group of amateurs, as the society is big and powerful and freeing the captain isn't easy.

The film actually isn't a lot like what I've come to expect from Hammer, as it's all played out rather seriously and there's not a hint of anything even resembling supernatural activity. The film doesn't reflect particularly well on the Chinese people - as despite being set in Hong Kong, there's hardly any natives on the cast list and the Chinese characters don't get to much that has any bearing on the plot. The atmosphere is nothing to write home about, although director Anthony Bushell manages to create just about enough tension to keep things ticking over. The acting is generally below average, with only Christopher Lee coming out of the film with any credibility - which is amazing considering the nature of his role. The film doesn't have a great deal of bite - in spite of a torture sequence and numerous scenes of drug use - although it mostly isn't boring. Overall, I can't say that The Terror of the Tongs is even near to being Hammer's finest hour, but it's a decent little rarity and worth tracking down for Hammer fans.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 March 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Terror of the Hatchet Men See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)| Color (Eastmancolor) (UK prints)| Black and White (USA, theatrical prints)| Color (Technicolor) (USA, TV prints)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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