Mr Moto encounters mysterious goings-on on a ship bound for Shanghai. He recognises his steward as the murderer of a man in San Francisco, and catches him trying to steal an important letter from the stateroom of another passenger, Robert Hitchings. Hitchings, son of the owner of the shipping line, falls in love with Gloria, who refuses to tell him anything about her life and disappears when they arrive in Shanghai. In Shanghai, Mr Moto uncovers the secret which links the murder in San Francisco, the mysterious letter, and Gloria. Written by
Daniel Frankham <danielf@my-Deja.com>
The movie version is greatly changed from the original novel: in the novel, the criminals were using the ship to bring gambling assets to Japan, and Mr. Moto was a Japanese agent assigned to stop them from doing so. See more »
That is an obvious stuntman demonstrating Mr. Moto's jujutsu in Bob's cabin. See more »
The shame of the Japanese-American concentration camps has cast a shadow over the Mr. Moto series, giving it a sorry reputation as an artifact of Hollywood racism. The truth is that as far as European-in-yellowface portrayals of Asians went, Peter Lorre's Moto was far less racist and considerably more sympathetic than the clownish, epigram-spouting Charlie Chan. In fact, it's easy to forget Moto's Japaneseness altogether and just view him as yet another wondrous manifestation of the white-linen-suited, Austrian-accented Lorreness so prevalent between the wars in films like "Strange Cargo," "Island of Doomed Men," und so wieter. Audiences certainly took to the little fellow in this first entry in the series, which introduces Moto in all his enigmatic glory--the bemused, politely ironical man of action with his love of kittycats, preference for cow's milk over whiskey, and disdainful conviction that beautiful women only confuse a man. Though Lorre reportedly had no idea what the whole thing was supposed to mean and spent his time offstage disconsolately listening to his archenemy Hitler on the radio, the eight Moto films established him as one of Hollywood's most beloved personalities and gave millions of small men who wore glasses the hope that they, too, could be strong and adorable.
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