Warner Oland makes the first of four screen appearances as Sax Rohmer's insidious oriental Dr. Fu Manchu.The film makes an effort to explain Fu's hatred of all whites by showing the death of the Doctor's family during the Boxer Rebellion. Twenty years later, Fu Manchu is a full-blooded villain, using a hypnotized Jean Arthur to help wipe out the British family Fu holds responsible for the deaths of his loved ones. But when Arthur falls in love with potential victim Neil Hamilton, Dr. Fu is forced to add her to his death-list. Weakened only by the excessive "silly-ass Englishman" comedy relief of William Austin, The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu is a rapid-fire adventure devoid of early-talkie clumsiness.
by Hal Erickson synopsis