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Mystery of Dr Fu Manchu, The (1923)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Episode 6: The Fungi Cellars

Fu Manchu's unwilling slave, Karamenah, visits Wayland Smith and his sidekick Dr Petrie to beg them to rescue her younger brother, Aziz, from Fu Manchu's clutches. In return she promises to help them catch the master criminal. Although Smith is suspicious, he agrees to help. Karamenah tells the men to meet her at the docks later that evening and Smith arranges for Inspector Weymouth and a group of policemen to assist them.

Fu Manchu, meanwhile, is at work in his laboratory creating a breed of mutant funghi...

That evening, Smith, Petrie and Weymouth assemble at the docks, along with a contingent of policeman. Karamenah takes the three men into Fu Manchu's lair and watches anxiously as Petrie rouses Aziz from a drugged sleep. She insists that Aziz be taken to safety before she reveals the whereabouts of Fu Manchu.

Karamenah leads the men to the sleeping Fu Manchu. She warns them not to enter his room, but tantalised by the prospect of at last having their quarry within reach, the men fail to heed her warning. They rush into the room and fall through a trapdoor. Fu Manchu wakes up and realises that Karamenah has betrayed him.

In the cellar beneath the room, Fu Manchu's henchmen tie up Smith, Petrie and Weymouth. Fu Manchu brings down the struggling Karamenah. When Weymouth's men attempt to rescue the prisoners, a glass partition comes down, trapping the policeman with Fu Manchu's poisonous mushrooms. The bound captives are forced to watch the police struggle frantically as the funghi omit poisonous spores.

As police reinforcements begin to arrive, Fu Manchu makes his escape by river. The captives are loaded onto his motorboat and he tells them that is rigged to explode once he has made his getaway. As Fu Manchu attempts to kill Karamenah, Weymouth manages to escape his bonds. He and Fu Manchu struggle and both men fall overboard. One of Fu Manchu's henchmen rescues the crime lord but Weymouth is left to drown.

Having rescued the trapped officers, the police reinforcements pursue the boat carrying Smith, Petrie and Karamenah. They manage to rescue them just before the boat explodes. Smith and Petrie gaze at the smouldering wreckage and wonder what has happened to Fu Manchu and Inspector Weymouth. Fu Manchu has escaped downriver, but Weymouth struggles safely ashore.