The Hatchet Man (1932)

Genres - Drama, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama  |   Run Time - 74 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Hans J. Wollstein

Oriental Hollywood excesses like The Hatchet Man make for rather uncomfortable viewing today, even when directed by such cinematic experts as Frank Capra (The Bitter Tea of General Yen, 1932) or, in this instance, William Wellman. The latter obviously wished to address the clash between ancient culture and modern American life, tradition versus modernity, but the bizarre "Oriental" makeup of Occidental stars Edward G. Robinson and Loretta Young simply gets in the way of the message, especially when contrasted to such genuine Asian supporting players as Toshia Mori and Willie Fung, both briefly spotted skulking about in the background. The Hatchet Man was released in the United Kingdom under the less bloodcurdling title of The Honourable Mr. Wong.