The Mystery Of Dr. Fu Manchu (Serial)

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This serial seems to be the earliest surviving film appearance of Dr. Fu Manchu. Unlike subsequent Fu Manchu films, these 13 episodes are essentially faithful (though abridged) adaptations of the events in Sax Rohmer's original stories, which are posted here for comparison. Each episode is a self-contained story, with no cliffhangers.

The protagonist duo of Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie is, superficially at least, an obvious imitation of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, with Dr. Fu Manchu taking the archvillain role of Prof. Moriarty. But in Fu Manchu stories, it is the genius of the archvillain that is the focus - not the cleverness of the detective. Nayland Smith admits: “I am a child striving to cope with a mental giant”.

Thankfully, the film adaptation ditched the repetitive narration of Dr. Petrie, with its endless vitriol against the so-called “Eastern race”. Of course, as faithful adaptations, these episodes maintain the Yellow Peril theme that is central to the story, but less explicitly.

Online: Internet Archive


  1. Episode 1: The Scented Envelopes [Lost film. The “scented envelopes” case is the short story The Zayat Kiss, “The first of the great struggles between Nayland Smith and the sinister Fu-Manchu” - a helpful introduction to the series.]
  2. Episode 2: The West Case

  3. Episode 3: The Clue Of The Pigtail

  4. Episode 4: The Call Of Siva

  5. Episode 5: The Miracle

  6. Episode 6: The Fungi Cellars

  7. Episode 7: The Knocking On The Door

  8. Episode 8: The Cry Of The Night Hawk

  9. Episode 9: Aaron's Rod [Currently unavailable, first reel missing. The “Aaron's rod” case is in chapters 7-10 of The Devil Doctor (UK)/The Return of Dr Fu-Manchu (US) (1916), the second novel in the Dr. Fu Manchu series. ]
  10. Episode 10: The Fiery Hand

  11. Episode 11: Man With The Limp

  12. Episode 12: The Queen of Hearts

  13. Episode 13: The Silver Buddha

  14. Episode 14: The Sacred Order

  15. Episode 15: The Shrine Of Seven Lamps