Shadows of the Orient (July 6, 1935)

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Regis Toomey in Shadows of the Orient
 

Released July 6, 1935: Two cops are on the trail of a Chinatown gang that is smuggling Chinese immigrants into the country.

Produced by Larry Darmour

Directed by Burt P. Lynwood

The Actors: Esther Ralston (Viola Avery), Regis Toomey (Inspector Bob Baxter), J. Farrell MacDonald (Inspector Sullivan), Oscar Apfel (Judge Avery), Sidney Blackmer (King Moss), Eddie Fetherston (James 'Flash' Dawson), Kit Guard (Spud Nolan), James B. Leong (Ching Chu), Lionel Backus (Steve Garland), Horace B. Carpenter (the property clerk), Patrick Cunning (Viola's boyfriend), Lester Dorr (Steve's henchman), John Elliott (Police chief W. P. Graves), Matty Fain (Rod, Spud's side-kick), Budd Fine (ranch foreman Lufkin), Chester Gan (the Chinaman at Canton House), Warren Jackson (reporter), Bud Jamison (Jake, restaurant counter man), Richard Loo (Yung Yow, henchman), Frank Meredith (Immigration agent Morgan), George Morrell (Canton House patron), William H. O'Brien (Jules the butler), Rose Plumer (landlady), Slim Whitaker (henchman Tiger Morton)

 

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The Young Cop, the Old Cop, and the Flying Lady

This action adventure was originally released July 6, 1935 by Empire Films, then 2 years later it was shortened by 3 minutes and re-released by Monogram Pictures as a ‘new’ movie. This version is the original full length motion picture, missing only a few seconds of the opening text.

The full opening text is: “Since the passing of the Oriental Exclusion Act, the smuggling of aliens has been constant. Although the smuggling is less than a few years ago, when Chinese were brought into the United States from Mexico in carloads, the traffic has by no means ceased, according to immigration officials.

The length of the frontier and sparsely settled regions makes patrolling impossible. These smugglers have no regard for human life and resort to any means to accomplish their selfish ends. The boss of the ring, at this time, is receiving fifteen hundred dollars per head on safe delivery.”

The movie was advertised as a romantic action adventure, but for my money there isn’t enough romance to even talk about. The leading lady is more like one of the guys than a sexy seductress, and that fits the story well. An old cop is paired with a youngster and their different approaches to solving crimes is a delicious contrast that is as fresh today as it was almost a hundred years ago.

J. (Joseph) Farrell MacDonald graduated from Yale University in 1903 where he was a football hero. In the movies he was mostly seen as a cop, and this story is one of his best. He is an older cop who will retire in a few years, and he is suddenly teamed with a young whippersnapper who will insult him and push him towards retiring.

The young cop is played by Regis Toomey, who was also seen most often as a cop in the movies. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1898, when Andrew Carnegie was near his peak of steel production. During those years, with steel blast furnaces billowing fire and smoke into the mountain air day and night, Pittsburgh was nicknamed “Hell with the lid ripped off.”

Making his way from “Hell” to Hollywood, Regis Toomey became a well-known character actor, but seldom the leading man. In fact, he never sought to be a leading man, believing that stars come and go, while supporting actors continue working for the next star, and the next, having a much longer working life.

Young Regis Toomey and old J. Farrell MacDonald clash often about new police methods replacing the old tried-and-true, but in the end we discover that it will take both the young ideas and the old cunning ways to outsmart the smugglers. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

Eddie Fetherston
Eddie Fetherston
Eddie Fetherston
Eddie Fetherston
Eddie Fetherston
Eddie Fetherston
Esther Ralston, Oscar Apfel and Regis Toomey
Esther Ralston, Oscar Apfel and Regis Toomey
Esther Ralston meets Sidney Blackmer
Esther Ralston meets Sidney Blackmer
Esther Ralston
Esther Ralston
Esther Ralston
Esther Ralston
Esther Ralston and Regis Toomey
Esther Ralston and Regis Toomey
J. Farrell MacDonald
J. Farrell MacDonald
J. Farrell MacDonald and Regis Toomey
J. Farrell MacDonald and Regis Toomey
J. Farrell MacDonald and Rose Plumer
J. Farrell MacDonald and Rose Plumer
J. Farrell MacDonald
J. Farrell MacDonald
J. Farrell MacDonald
J. Farrell MacDonald
John Elliott
John Elliott
Kit Guard
Kit Guard
Lester Dorr and Slim Whitaker
Lester Dorr and Slim Whitaker
Matty Fain and Kit Guard
Matty Fain and Kit Guard
Matty Fain and Kit Guard
Matty Fain and Kit Guard
Oscar Apfel
Oscar Apfel
Regis Toomey
Regis Toomey
Regis Toomey and Esther Ralston
Regis Toomey and Esther Ralston
Regis Toomey and Esther Ralston
Regis Toomey and Esther Ralston
Regis Toomey and Matty Fain
Regis Toomey and Matty Fain
Regis Toomey, Matty Fain and Kit Guard
Regis Toomey, Matty Fain and Kit Guard
Regis Toomey and Matty Fain
Regis Toomey and Matty Fain
Regis Toomey and Esther Ralston
Regis Toomey and Esther Ralston
Regis Toomey and J. Farrell MacDonald
Regis Toomey and J. Farrell MacDonald
Regis Toomey
Regis Toomey
Richard Loo, Esther Ralston and Sidney Blackmer
Richard Loo, Esther Ralston and Sidney Blackmer
Richard Loo and Sidney Blackmer
Richard Loo and Sidney Blackmer
Richard Loo
Richard Loo
Sidney Blackmer
Sidney Blackmer
Sidney Blackmer and Kit Guard
Sidney Blackmer and Kit Guard
Sidney Blackmer
Sidney Blackmer
Sidney Blackmer
Sidney Blackmer
Slim Whitaker
Slim Whitaker