The Mr. Moto Collection Vol. 2 (1938-39)

20th Century Fox

Cast: Peter Lorre.

Rating: G.

Run time: Four movies, approx. 70 mins each

Genre: Crime.

Verdict: Beautiful (see rating system)

Austrian-born actor Peter Lorre was blessed with such exotic features that he was completely believable as shrewd Japanese detective Mr. Moto in a series of hit films in for Fox in the 1930s.

Made before Lorre became a well-known character actor in Warner Bros. classics like The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Casablanca (1943), the Mr. Moto films helped Lorre establish himself in Hollywood after his earlier success in German theatre and cinema. Moto is a diminutive, but wiry detective who catches antagonists off guard with his genial manner but who has an arsenal of judo throws at his disposal should things turn nasty.

These black and white whudunnits have long been cult favourites for fans of the detective genre, with lots of plot twists and many suspects for Moto to sift through. The four movies in this set - Mr. Moto in Danger Island, Mr. Moto’s Gamble, Mr. Moto’s Last Warning and Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation, date from 1938-39 and Fox has done an outstanding job of restoring them, as the demonstration features on each disc show.

From tracking gem thieves and killers to trying to prevent saboteurs from blowing up the French fleet, Mr. Moto relies on his wits, knowing he can trust no one. Ward Bond, who later starred in many John Wayne westerns and was the cab driver in the classic It's A Wonderful Life, is among a solid supporting cast.

Several interesting documentaries on the Moto series are included here, making this 4-DVD set a real collector’s item.



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