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Mr. Moto's Last Warning

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mr. Moto's Last Warning
Directed byNorman Foster
Produced bySol M. Wurtzel
Written byPhilip MacDonald
Norman Foster
Based oncharacter created by John P. Marquand
StarringPeter Lorre
Ricardo Cortez
Virginia Field
John Carradine
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • January 20, 1939 (1939-01-20)
[1]
Running time
71 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Mr. Moto's Last Warning is the sixth in a series of eight films starring Peter Lorre as Mr. Moto.[2]

The film is an original story featuring the character created by John P. Marquand.[3]

Plot

The British Navy in Port Said is making plans for naval manoeuvres with the French fleet. Plans are delayed because the British Secret Service has been warned of possible sabotage. On a ship docking in Port Said is Madame Delacour (Margaret Irving), wife of the French naval admiral. Delacour and her daughter Marie (Joan Carroll) are befriended by the charming Eric Norvel (George Sanders), the goofy Rollo Venables (Robert Coote), and someone posing as Mr. Moto (Teru Shimada). Norvel reveals his true nature when the ship docks and he lures Mr. Moto to his death. This "fake" Mr. Moto turns out to be a fellow agent of Mr. Moto (Peter Lorre) who is posing as a curio dealer Mr. Kuroki.

Norvel takes Delacour and Venables to a variety show featuring Fabian the Great (Ricardo Cortez), a ventriloquist. Fabian is the leader of the gang of saboteurs including Hakim (John Davidson), Captain Hawkins (Leyland Hodgson), Danforth (John Carradine), and Norvel. Danforth is actually a British Secret Service agent named Burke. Moto listens in on their conversation and is almost captured, but Burke helps him escape. Norvel is given the task of learning from Delacour when the French fleet is due at Port Said.

The suspicious Fabian thinks that Kuroki may actually be Mr. Moto. Fabian enlists his girlfriend Connie (Virginia Field), who is unaware he is an agent, to follow Mr. Moto the next day. She sees Moto visit the Port Commandant's office where he learns of the salvage ship "The Vulcan" captained by Hawkins.

Fabian also discovers that Danforth is the secret agent, Burke. Fabian lures Burke to "The Vulcan" and reveals his plan to blow up the French fleet and blame the British. He then kills Burke by trapping him in a diving bell. Norvel gets the information needed and tells Fabian at the theater. Connie overhears the conversation and threatens to call the Port Commandant, but Fabian convinces her to go along with him.

Hakim tries to kill Moto with a bomb, but Moto escapes the explosion and follows Hakim to a warehouse. Moto enlists Venables to help, but Venables is tricked by Norvel. After a fight, Moto and Venables are tied in sacks and thrown into the ocean, but not before Moto tricks Hawkins and grabs a piece of sharp metal. Connie can't bear to see this violence and goes to call the police. Fabian knocks her out and proceeds with his plans.

Moto escapes underwater and frees Venables, who goes to the police. Norvel dives down to await a signal from Fabian but Moto overpowers him and prematurely detonates the explosives meant to destroy the French fleet. Resurfacing, Moto fights with Fabian but Connie shows up and shoots Fabian. Moto discovers the saboteur's plans in Fabian's dummy but never reveals to the audience which country tried to engineer a war between France and England.

Cast

Production notes

Mr. Moto's Last Warning is the only Peter Lorre Moto film in the public domain. It is available at the Internet Archive.[4]

The film was announced in April 1938.[5][6] The title was then changed to Mr. Moto in Egypt before it eventually became Mr Moto's Last Warning.

In April, the studio announced they were considering giving a lead role to Al Jolson, who was making Rose of Washington Square for the studio.[7] This role eventually went to Ricardo Cortez.

The previous Moto film, Mysterious Mr. Moto, had finished shooting in April 1938. Filming on this one started in June 1938.[8]

Virginia Field also appeared in the first film of the series, Think Fast, Mr. Moto. John Carradine had previously appeared in Thank You, Mr. Moto. Carradine's part was to have been played by Miles Mander but he was delayed by retakes on Suez and had to be replaced.[9]

While filming a fight scene on the film, stunt man Harvey Perry was knocked out for five minutes.[10]

When Ricardo Cortez made the film he announced he was retiring from acting and had signed to Fox as a director.[11]

Reception

The film was released in January 1939. The New York Times thought the "method" used by Moto was "a little tough on the audience" but praised the "rousing old fashioned climax".[12] The Los Angeles Times gave the film "faint praise" saying it was "routine".[13]

Home media

This film, along with Mr. Moto in Danger Island, Mr. Moto's Gamble, Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation and (as a DVD extra) The Return of Mr. Moto, was released on DVD in 2007 by 20th Century Fox as part of The Mr. Moto Collection, Volume Two.

See also

Further reading

  • Wires, Richard (1990). John P. Marquand and Mr. Moto: Spy Adventures and Detective Films. Ball State University. ISBN 0-937994-17-0.
  • Berlin, Howard (2005). The Complete Mr. Moto Film Phile: A Casebook. Wildside Press. ISBN 0-8095-1129-0.

References

  1. ^ "THE SCREEN IN REVIEW: Rudyard Kipling and RKO Bring a Spectacular Version of 'Gunga Din' Into the Music Hall--'Stand Up and Fight,' With Taylor and Beery, Arrives at Capitol At the Capitol At the Palace At the Polish Theatre". New York Times. Jan 27, 1939. p. 17.
  2. ^ "Mr. Moto's Last Warning". Monthly Film Bulletin. 6 (61). London. Jan 1, 1939. p. 19.
  3. ^ "THE SCREEN IN REVIEW: Rudyard Kipling and RKO Bring a Spectacular Version of 'Gunga Din' Into the Music Hall--'Stand Up and Fight,' With Taylor and Beery, Arrives at Capitol At the Capitol At the Palace At the Polish Theatre". New York Times. Jan 27, 1939. p. 17.
  4. ^ Internet Archive page for Mr. Moto's Last Warning
  5. ^ Schallert, Edwin (May 20, 1938). ""Farewell to Arms" Re-Showing Proposed: Dietrich May Do Sand Fay Bainter Wins Plum Withers Feature Set Jottings and Castings". Los Angeles Times. p. 17.
  6. ^ Schallert, Edwin (Apr 25, 1938). ""Farewell to Arms" Re-Showing Proposed: Dietrich May Do Sand Fay Bainter Wins Plum Withers Feature Set Jottings and Castings". Los Angeles Times. p. 11.
  7. ^ DOUGLAS W. CHURCHILL (Apr 26, 1939). "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD: Henry Fonda and Nancy Kelly Will Be Seen in 'Drums Along the Mohawk' TWO FILMS OPEN TODAY 'The Lady's From Kentucky' and 'Blondie Meets the Boss' to Have Local Premieres Chinese Flier Under Contract Of Local Origin". New York Times. p. 26.
  8. ^ "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD: Paramount Plans to Expand British Activities--David E. Rose Production Chief ONE OPENING ON BROADWAY ' When Were You Born' Begins Engagement at Strand-Miss Lindsay Heads Cast Of Local Origin MUSIC NOTES". New York Times. 8 June 1938. p. 29.
  9. ^ Schallert, Edwin (June 9, 1938). "'It Can't Happen Here' May Be Muni Feature: Frances Mercer Placed Auer in "Sweethearts" Kortner Story Bought Allen Switches Roles". Los Angeles Times. p. 15.
  10. ^ Scott, John (17 July 1938). "Amateurs Crashing Film Ranks: Raw Recruits Rapidly Winning Laurels as Star Material". Los Angeles Times. p. C1.
  11. ^ Scott, John (17 July 1938). "Amateurs Crashing Film Ranks: Raw Recruits Rapidly Winning Laurels as Star Material". Los Angeles Times. p. C1.
  12. ^ "THE SCREEN IN REVIEW". New York Times. Jan 27, 1939. p. 17.
  13. ^ "'Gunga Din' Hailed as Stirring Pageant". Los Angeles Times. Feb 6, 1939. p. 10.

External links

This page was last edited on 4 August 2020, at 21:03
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