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Think Fast, Mr. Moto (1937)

Not Rated  |   |  Adventure, Crime, Drama  |  27 July 1937 (USA)
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On a freighter going from San Francisco to Shanghai Mr. Moto solves mysteries caused by a gang of smugglers. First of the series.



(screen play), (screen play), 4 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Virginia Field ...
Thomas Beck ...
Bob Hitchings
Sig Ruman ...
Nicolas Marloff (as Sig Rumann)
Murray Kinnell ...
Joseph Wilkie
John Rogers ...
Lela Liu
George Cooper ...
Muggs Blake
Frederick Vogeding ...
Curio Dealer (as Fredrik Vogeding)


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Meet.... MR. MOTO the foxiest detective of them all!


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

27 July 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Misterioso Mr. Moto  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


First of Fox's eight film series that starred Peter Lorre, followed by Mr. Moto Takes a Chance (1938). See more »


That is an obvious stuntman demonstrating Mr. Moto's jujutsu in Bob's cabin. See more »


Nicolas Marloff: *Now* think fast, Mr. Moto!
See more »


Featured in Cinema's Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood (2009) See more »


The Shy Violet
Music by Harry Akst
Lyrics by Sidney Clare
See more »

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User Reviews

Murder in the Orient

Ah! the 1930's! A time when it was generally perceived that anything that came out of the Orient was a threat. The Yellow Peril loomed over all of Western Europe and America, so it was to be believed, with the likes of Fu Manchu and his minions and other deadly men out to take over the world. Despite this generalized, popular stereotype, Hollywood made strings of films with Oriental detectives that, while still unfortunately maintaining certain Oriental prejudices and mannerisms, bucked this trend with the likes of the wise, sententious Charlie Chan, the inimitable Mr. Wong, and Mr. Moto of course. None of the series used Oriental actors, but the films gave the likes of Warner Oland, Sidney Toler, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and Peter Lorre jobs. The Mr. Moto series, based on the works of John Marquand, began with Think Fast, Mr. Moto. The film is somewhat confusing in spots, but generally a rousing success of creating an endearing screen character that went on to make several more films. Mr. Moto, unlike Chan or Wong, is Oriental yet very Western in many ways. He is quiet, circumspect, wearing very small rounded glasses. Lorre captured his character wonderfully. The story details how Moto is following the workings of a smuggling ring in Singapore. He travels from San Francisco to the Orient on a luxury liner, where he meets the son of the tycoon that owns the boat and who also may have information that can lead Moto to the smugglers. A pretty good mystery that was not real hard to figure out at the end. It's Lorre's portrayal that gives the film real life, and definitely has set me out to see the other films in the series. By the way, great character actor Sig Ruman plays the heavy...quite nicely!

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